Staff reporter
THE effects of the current summer in the Balearics, the hottest on record, are more far reaching than a succession of ongoing high temperatures.
According to data from the National Institute of Meteorology and the Ministry of the Environment, the lack of rainfall and excessively high temperatures, although they have not reached absolute record levels, have meant that the ground has been rapidly drying out throughout this summer season. Consequently, all the Balearics is currently “extremely dry” with the exception of the Tramuntana mountains on Majorca where the state of the ground has been classified as being simply ”dry”. These condtions have been prevailing since 1 July and warrant attention if it is taken into account that at the same date last year, the distribution of dryness or moisture intensity was the same but with different values. All land in the Balearics with the exception of the Tramuntana was labelled “dry” and the Serra Nord fell into the category of “a little damp”. The level of ”very dry” means that the ground only holds up to 10 percent of moisture. ”Dry” ground conserves 25 percent of dampness and ”a little damp”, 50 percent. In this case, it is not worth remembering the cool summer of 2002 since the unusual weather conditions were registered in July and August, not in June. In fact, June of last year was quite hot and registered, for example, more days with maximum temperatures higher than 30 degrees Celsius, than the same month this current year. The same could be said of solar radiation. In the region of the mainland of Spain and the Balearics (the Canary Islands are not taken into account because of their geographical location being close to Africa), the Balearic Islands show the highest values in terms of solar radiation, higher even than those of Andalucia. Taking the capital city of Palma as a reference point, its solar radiation level has registered 2'724 tens of kilojoules per square metre (a means of recording solar radiation levels). This pole position was followd by Valladolid (2'708), Badajoz (2'707), and Granada (2'702 tens of kilojoules per square metre). It's appropriate to point out that for the same period last year, solar radiation levels in Palma measures 2'636 tens of kilojoules per square metre and the figures were not the highest in Spain. Badajoz, Toledo and Murcia showed greater levels. All this information can be added to that already known about temperature levels. This summer, Palma experienced the hottest June of its recorded history with an averge temperature of 26.2 degrees. The second highest temperature of its history was recorded in 1878 with 24.5 degrees. In the rest of Majorca, June this year was the hottest for the last 30 years, registering 4.5 degrees above the historical average. July ended up as the second hottest month in the last 25 years and the hottest since 1994 in Palma. With an average temperature of 27.8 degrees, Julio was only beaten into second place by August of 1994, and even then only by a tenth of a point. In only 7 days of that month did temperatures not exceed 30 degrees. August of 2003 will be the hottest month of all recorded history in the Balearics, with maximum temperatures constantly higher than 30 degrees and an average close to the same figure.

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