Canada is sweltering in 50º heat and the Authorities are investigating nearly 500 deaths caused by an intense heatwave that hit the country last Friday.
Experts claim that climate change is becoming more evident every day, so what are the chances of temperatures in Mallorca reaching 50º?
“We can’t rule it out, but it won’t happen in the immediate future,” says Meteorologist Agustín Jansá, who warns that climate change does increase the possibility of record breaking temperatures on the island.
So far the highest temperature recorded in Mallorca has been 44º in Muro and 41º at Palma Airport.
Temperatures in southern Spain have hit 47º-48º, but because of its lower latitudes and continental environment, that's not so strange.
Jansà points out that there were excessively high temperatures in Siberia at an even higher latitude last summer and warns that because the temperature of the planet is now 1.2º above the pre-industrial level and expected to rise, it’s possible that Mallorca will break its temperature records.
"With an excess of 1.2º we have peaks of 50º at almost fifty degrees of latitude and an average temperature 1.5º-2º higher than the pre-industrial level. If we are not taking efficient action on climate change, it can take us to planetary temperatures of 3º-4º above the pre-industrial level, or more. Large heat peaks are associated with strong ripples of the jet stream, with powerful anticyclones at too high latitudes. This is what is happening now in Canada and has happened elsewhere. What is not known is where such anomalies may occur in the coming months or years, but they are likely to occur. A moderate increase in the average temperature has a very large effect on the probability of extreme temperatures,” he said.
Gabriel Jordà, who’s a Scientific Researcher at the Balearic Oceanographic Centre, stresses that high temperatures have consequences and that it doesn’t have to be 50º to notice them.
“With an increase of 3º-4º the usual maximums will already begin to be noticed and the consequences will depend on how organised and prepared society is at that time,” he said, adding that Aemet’s warnings are very helpful, because in the middle of a heatwave people should not be going outside at noon, in case they faint in the heat.
When sea water exceeds 28º, which is usually when there is a wave of atmospheric heat, posidonia dies, whereas other species adapt to the excessive heat.