Temperature record broken: Hottest high in 101 years
A Weekend heatwave that coloured most of the map of Spain deep burgundy on the weather channels brought a new record temperature high – the top figure ever registered since records began over 101 years ago.
Until Saturday, August 14, the highest ‘official’ temperature ever found in Spain was 46.9ºC, registered at Córdoba airport on July 13, 2017.
In the same province, but this time in the town of Montoro, this has now been smashed – the State meteorological agency, AEMET, says its weather station showed a figure of 47.2ºC at exactly 17.10.
And the Córdoba airport weather station, 40 minutes later, exactly equalled its 2017 record of 46.9ºC.
Although anecdotal evidence – and local pharmacy thermometers – have often shown temperatures in the shade of at least these figures in past years, for the purposes of record-setting, only official AEMET weather station numbers count.
This is because they are the only thermometers guaranteed to be functioning under conditions that eliminate all confounding variables – others not controlled and monitored by AEMET and other meteorological agencies may be affected by unnoticed outside influences.
For example, even a thermometer known to be highly sophisticated and accurate will show a much higher temperature than it really is if it is placed too close to the tarmac, which absorbs and reflects heat because of being black, and will have been ‘pumping’ hot air at the device all day.
Also, thermometers used for ‘official’ temperatures are placed in the shade; those in direct sunlight would normally show between 5ºC and 10ºC higher, which would account for those that show figures above 50ºC during a heatwave.
This, then, means that in Montoro, anyone standing in direct sunlight at 17.10 on Saturday would have been experiencing temperatures of between 52.2ºC and 57.2ºC.
Córdoba, Jaén and Sevilla – the three land-locked provinces in mainland Spain’s southernmost region of Andalucía – are typically the hottest parts of the country in summer; on the south and east coast and the Mediterranean area in general, the mercury normally reads around 10ºC to 15ºC lower than in these inland strips.
To this end, the highest temperatures in Spain were found in inland Andalucía over the weekend – Écija (Sevilla province) reached 46.6ºC at 16.00 on Saturday, and Aguilar de la Frontera (Córdoba province) hit 46.5ºC at 17.20.
At precisely the moment Córdoba airport broke more than a century’s worth of temperature records, another town in its wider province – Fuente Palmera – reached 46.4ºC, and in Fuentes de Andalucía (Sevilla province), the thermometer was reading 46.3ºC at the same time.
Outside the three statistically hottest provinces in Spain, Granada airport registered 46ºC at 15.40, making this the highest temperature in any of the country’s coastal provinces on Saturday.
Espiel (Córdoba) recorded the same figure, 46ºC, but at 16.10, whilst Granada city reached 45.9ºC just 10 minutes later, and La Puebla de los Infantes (Sevilla) soared to 45.7ºC at 17.00.
Similar temperatures were seen on Sunday, the third day on which all of Andalucía’s provinces except Málaga and Almería were on ‘red alert’ – the latter two were on ‘orange’ – and spikes of between 40ºC and 43ºC were registered on the Mediterranean coast.
Episodes of rain are forecast from the middle of this week, along with a drop in temperatures, giving residents and tourists a bit of respite from the sweltering summer climate.
Published thinkspain.com 16 August 2021