By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
LAST year was one of the coldest this century in the Balearics and also one of the driest on the mainland.
According to the National Meteorological Institute, the average temperature last year was 15ºC.
Not quite as cold as the 14.8ºC recorded in 1996 but a little bit more nippy that 2005 when the average temperature was 15.1ºC.
And mainland Spain also suffered one of its driest years this century.
Angel Rivera, spokesperson for the Spanish met. office, said yesterday that last year's rainfall levels were some of the lowest for the past 30 to 40 years. “But, before we start talking about a definite change in the climate, we need to study the next three or four years to see if there is a definite trend,” she said.

However, she did admit that the climate data for 2007 in Spain contradicts the latest climate change claims of rising temperatures. The driest areas of Spain last year were Galicia (traditionally one of the wettest) along with the Mediterranean basin, in particular Majorca, western Catalonia and northern Valencia, as well as some of the Canary Islands.

But, as we in Majorca well know, when the rain did come last year, it came in abundance, and that is going to become more common. In fact, the met. office forecasts that rainfall in the Balearics will become more irregular but more intense.

The wettest months in the Balearics last year were March, April, September and October but, since the hurricane and torrential rains fell in October, little rain has fallen.

The first three months of this year are forecast to be slightly damper than usual but, so far, January is proving to be dry if windy. Rivera said yesterday that the Mediterranean can expect a few cold fronts this year but, on the whole, it is going to be another dry year for Spain and, for the moment, no adverse weather phenomena are forecast.

Not good news for locations such as Santiago de Compostela which last year suffered its driest year since 1944.

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