By Humphrey Carter
THE heat wave is going to continue for most of this week and temperatures will not start to fall, albeit slightly, until the weekend. Over the past few days, the temperature in the Balearics, (on Sunday it reached 36ºC in Palma) and across Spain have reached near record highs again, although José Antonio Fernández Monistrol, the Met. Office's chief weather forecaster, said yesterday that the record temperatures of 46.6ºC set during the heat wave of 1995 has not been broken, although in Cordoba it reached 45.8ºC on Sunday and in Seville, the temperatures passed 45ºC. But while this present heat wave is not as hot as in 1995, José Antonio Fernández Monistrol explained the heat wave gripping us at the moment is lasting much longer and it is the prolonged duration of it that is taking its toll on the population's health and causing problems. The weather pattern over the Balearics and Spain at the moment is typical to that in North Africa at this time of year and the front of hot air is going to remain perched over us until the weekend. The front of hot air may not move away until next Tuesday.
Fernández Monistrol said that the problem is that the longer the front of hot air sits over the country, the harder it becomes to break the weather pattern because so little cold air has been allowed through the so-called “hot barrier” Over the next few days, average maximum temperatures will be around 40ºC, but a repeat of the extreme highs of the weekend are not forecast, although the thermometres in the centre of Palma yesterday registered 43ºC although in the shade, the maximum was 32ºC. Inca was the hottest yesterday with 35ºC. July in the Balearics was the hottest for the past 30 years, while June was also the hottest for the past 50 years.
The average daily temperature in Palma last month was 26.9ºC, three points higher than the usual monthly average.
August is going to be another hot month and with the island reaching the peak of the summer season, demand for power and water are going to reach their maximum levels. The Met Office in the UK has warned that unless we are prepared to take notice of the warnings and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and our dependence on fossil fuels, the way we live and play look set to change dramatically over the next few decades because of climate change. Global warming will push average temperatures up by between 1.5ºC and 5.8ºC while sea levels will rise between 10 and 90cm.

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