Record-breaking warmth sweeps Spain in January, amplifying drought fears
In 2024, Spain experienced unprecedented warmth in January, with temperatures rising above 82 degrees Fahrenheit in some regions. The Spanish meteorological institute, AEMET, reports that temperature records were breached in over 90 locations throughout January.
A January of record heat in Spain
On January 25 alone, more than 400 observational stations, roughly half of the national network, recorded temperatures of 68 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The average maximum temperature across the country was roughly 64-66 degrees. By comparison, the typical average maximum temperature in Spain for January is around 51.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Fredes, Valencia, at an elevation of 3940 feet above sea level, temperatures reached 70.9 degrees Fahrenheit. At the Puerto de Navacerrada ski resort, traditionally snowy at this time of year, nighttime temperatures did not dip below 50 degrees.
Multiple regions in Spain, including Andalusia and Catalonia, have been contending with severe droughts for several years. Unusual warmth and inadequate rainfall amplify concerns over dwindling water resources. Reservoir levels are at critical lows and even stricter restrictions on water usage may soon be implemented.
Scientists from the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimate that there is a one-third chance that 2024 will be warmer still than 2023 - the hottest year in recorded history, not just in Spain, but around the world. Dr. Sarah Kapnick, NOAA's lead scientist, warns, "We will continue to see record-breaking temperatures and a rise in extreme weather events unless emissions fall to zero."