The recent extreme heat in Spain and other western Mediterranean countries is most likely due to man-made climate change, according to a scientific study. According to a report by the international research network World Weather Attribution (WWA), climate change has made record temperatures of around 40 degrees in Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Algeria "at least a hundred times more likely" at the end of April. Such heat at the end of April "would have been almost impossible without climate change," write the study authors.
A few days ago, parts of southwest Europe and North Africa were hit by extreme heat, with maximum temperatures of up to 41 degrees measured in the region, according to the WWA.
In Spain, according to the national weather service Aemet, new April records were registered in around 100 measuring stations across the country. The highest value of this most recent heat wave in the country was recorded with 38.8 degrees on April 27 in Andalusian Córdoba. The previous high in the city for April was also exceeded by 4.8 degrees.
Problem not limited to Europe
"As other analysis of extreme heat in Europe has shown, extreme temperatures in the region are rising faster than climate models predicted," the WWA report said. But the problem is not limited to Europe. As a result of climate change, heat waves "have become more frequent, longer and hotter worldwide".
"Unless greenhouse gas emissions are stopped altogether, global temperatures will continue to rise, and events like these will become more frequent and violent," warns the international organization, which includes several renowned climate scientists, including Germany's Friederike Otto, who has been at Imperial College since 2021 works in London.
In connection with the study, the Kiel resident emphasized that the Mediterranean region is "one of the regions most at risk from climate change in Europe". "The region is already experiencing a very intense and prolonged drought and these high temperatures at a time of year when it should be raining are making the situation worse," Otto said. "Without a speedy cessation of fossil fuel burning and adaptation to a warmer, drier climate, casualties and damage in the region will continue to escalate dramatically."