03-11-2018

Agustí Jansà, the former head of the Aemet branch in the Balearics and now involved with the University of the Balearic Islands' climate change research, says that climate change means a rise in temperature and the retention of more water in the atmosphere that has evaporated from the sea. This is warmer, it has more energy, and the capacity for intense rainfall and extreme weather conditions is increased.

Jansà explains that it is easier to link periods of high temperatures to climate change than intense rainfalls. These are more irregular and there is insufficient data to establish statistical continuity. The particularly hot summers of 2003 and 2017, when there were temperatures three degrees above the average, allow conclusions to be drawn as to the probability of hotter summers than in the past.

With the rainfall, as it was in Sant Llorenç, and also with the "cap de fibló" tornado that struck Minorca, conclusions are less clear. Neither weather event, Jansà observes, was unusual as such, although the length that the tornado travelled - some twenty kilometres - was not typical. The normal length is between two and five kilometres. Rainfall levels in the Tramuntana Mountains, he notes, can be predicted with some certainty, but not so elsewhere.

He warns that there isn't a culture of "risk" in the Balearics where extreme weather is concerned and believes that "we never think that it will affect us".