Science

Spain: 2022 was the hottest year on record

“2022 was the hottest year in Spain since at least 1916,” the agency tweeted, emphasizing that “this was the first time that the average annual temperature (exceeded) 15°C” from almost 15.5°C. C. “Until 2011, the temperature of 14.5 °C had never been exceeded. Since then, this has happened five times,” added AEMET, specifying that 2023 begins with abnormally high temperatures.

After 2022, the two hottest years were 2017 and 2020. AEMET indicates that it has retrospectively established mean annual temperatures between 1916 and 1961 based on individual measurements and statistical models.

In the summer of 2022, more than 4,700 people died from the heat in Spain.

Like part of Europe, Spain was hit in 2022 by several scorching summer heatwaves, marked by fires of unprecedented intensity, increased deaths and high levels of drought. “For the first time, two consecutive seasons in the same year (summer and autumn) were the hottest in the series,” AEMET stressed on Dec. 21 in a preliminary report.

The Public Health Institute estimates that nearly 4,744 deaths in Spain were caused by a heat wave in the summer of 2022. According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), more than 300,000 hectares were burned in this country in 2022, the largest number of casualties since the start of measures in 2000. “Considering rains recorded up to December 15, this is the third driest year in the historical series,” AEMET notes in its preliminary report.

Water reserves at the end of December were 43% of their capacity, up from 53% on average over the past ten years, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, on which AEMET depends.

2022, the hottest year recorded in Spain (AFP – Cléa PÉCULIER)

In Europe, the summer of 2022 was the hottest on record, the European Climate Change Service Copernicus reported in early September. At least 15,000 deaths were directly linked to the heatwave that hit the continent last summer, according to a still incomplete estimate released by the WHO in early November. The European continent is also the one that is warming the fastest, recording temperatures more than double the global average over the past thirty years, the UN noted in early November. The multiplication of heat waves, according to scientists, is a direct consequence of the climate crisis, when greenhouse gas emissions increase in intensity, duration and frequency.

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