Climate change could bring torrential rain, tropical nights, drought and highs of 50 degrees to Seville, Cádiz and Melilla and other Mediterranean destinations in 30 years time, according to a new study by eltiempo.es.
The report warns that if global warming notably exceeds the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold, it could have serious consequences for some parts of Spain in the coming decades, including difficulty sleeping because of hot temperatures overnight, an increase in the average temperature, heavy rainfall and flooding.
eltiempo.es predicts that summer 2050 will be marked by extreme heat waves, with temperatures reaching 42ºC in Madrid, 44ºC in Bilbao, 45ºC in Valencia and Santa Cruz, Tenerife and 49ºC in Seville and Córdoba.
The report states that heat waves will also be more frequent and intense and that temperatures will be so much higher than they are now that the threshold to qualify as a heatwave will change.
In Madrid in 2020 the mercury has to be higher than 39ºC for it to be considered a heatwave, but within 30 years that temperature will be more normal.
Heat waves will be a lot longer and in Madrid, Barcelona and the Balearic Islands, they could last 11-13 days in 2050, two weeks in some interior regions of the Peninsula and up to 20 days on the Mediterranean coast.
Since 1975 there have been 57 heat waves in Spain.
Harmful to Health
The study predicts that it will also be very hot overnight, especially in cities and tropical nights will be "very common”.
On average, the minimum temperature in Madrid will go from 16ºC during the summer of 2020 to 18ºC in 2050, Zaragoza will be 3ºC hotter overnight and so will Mediterranean areas where the minimum temperature is usually around 21ºC, so tropical nights will be very common.
During the summer months there could be more than 60 tropical nights in Mediterranean regions and between 68 and 70 in Seville, Cádiz, Ceuta or Melilla with minimum temperatures of more than 20ºC.
The number of tropical nights will double in Madrid, Zaragoza and Cáceres and triple in Castilla y León.
"What we now consider extremely hot nights will be the norm from 2050 during almost half of the summer season," according to eltiempo.es.
By the end of this century the study predicts there will be 57 tropical nights in Madrid, 61 in Barcelona, between 70 and 75 on the Mediterranean coast and "practically every summer night will be tropical in Andalusia with minimum temperatures of more than 20ºC”.
Droughts & Torrential Rains
30 years from now some regions will have no rainfall for more than 60 days and droughts and floods are forecast in the driest areas of the country.
The arid surface of Spain will increase from around 4.4% at the beginning of this century to 6% or more in 2050 and the entire southeast Peninsula could acquire a semi-arid and arid index.
The study warns that there will be very little rainfall in the Mediterranean and when it does rain it will be torrential, causing flooding, an increased risk of natural catastrophe and physical damage.
According to eltiempo.es, in 2050 the Segura basin will have no rain for 309 days of the year and other hydrographic basins in the southern half of the Peninsula will have less than 65 days of rain a year.