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Spain saw hottest spring on record in 2023

June 7, 2023

Spain's national weather agency said that three out of the past four seasons were the hottest on record. The major olive oil exporter is facing a prolonged drought that has decimated production.

Dry earth at rice field near warehouse in Spain
Authorities say Spain saw its hottest and second-driest spring on record this yearImage: Marcelo del Pozo/Getty Images

Spain experienced its hottest spring on record this year, authorities said on Wednesday.

This spring was also the second-driest since records began in 1961.

1.8 degree increase in temperatures

The Spanish environment ministry said in a statement that temperatures between March 1 and June 1 averaged 14.2 degrees Celsius (57.6 Fahrenheit).

This was 1.8 degrees hotter than the average for the reference period between 1991 and 2020. It was 0.3 degrees higher than the previous record, which was registered in 1997.

The figures were for mainland Spain and did not include the Canary or Balearic Islands.

Ruben del Campo, a spokesperson for Spain's national weather agency (AEMET), said that three out of the past four seasons were the hottest on record.

"We're getting used to breaking records," he said.

AEMET meteorologist Estrella Gutierrez said there was a "high probability" that Spain would experience an abnormally hot summer this year, especially in the eastern half of the mainland and in the Canaries and the Balearics.

However, Del Campo said that it was "unlikely" to surpass the heat of the summer of 2022.

Spain also experienced its first major wildfire of the year in March, which is earlier than usual.

Dried-up Sau water reservoir in Catalonia
Spain is experiencing a prolonged drought, with reservoirs in the south and northeast particularly affectedImage: Davide Bonaldo/ZUMA Wire/IMAGO

Spain faces prolonged drought

Spain is facing a prolonged drought that has drastically reduced agricultural output. The Mediterranean country is a major exporter of olive oil, accounting for nearly half of the world's production, and also the European Union's largest producer of fruit and vegetables.

Experts say some areas of Spain are their driest in 1,000 years, and some farmers have chosen not to sow their crops in this year due to the drought.

AEMET spokesperson Del Campo said that almost no rainfall was seen until mid-May.

He said that the problem was far from being solved, despite heavy rains in the second half of May.

Spain's reservoirs are on average at 47.4% of their capacity, with levels being at around 25% in the southern region of Andalusia and Catalonia in the northeast.

sdi/jcg (Reuters, AFP)