It's going to be very hot this weekend. | Orlando Barría


The number of summer days in Spain’s main cities has increased from 90 to 145 in the last 50 years, according to a study by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), which states that daytime heat waves have increased almost sevenfold and night-time heat waves almost elevenfold in recent decades.

According to the research, the average temperature increase in Spain’s main cities has risen by 3.54 °C between 1971 and 2022, one of the most pronounced climatic anomalies in the world.

In addition to an increase of two months of warm days, tropical nights have increased by 18 and have risen from an average of 45 to 63 since 1971, according to the study, which recalls that 2022 was the second warmest year on record in Europe, with 0.9 °C warmer on average, and that in many countries in south-western Europe, it was the warmest year on record.

According to the researchers, the largest temperature anomalies occurred in northeastern Scandinavia and in countries bordering the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, although the average temperature in the Mediterranean has a greater increase than the global average and is a key factor in explaining the rise in temperatures in Spain.

The Centre for Land Policy and Valuations (CPSV) of the UPC, linked to the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB), has analysed the warming process in the main Spanish urban areas from 1971 to 2022 by analysing data from 21 weather stations throughout Spain.

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Specifically, it has studied Barcelona (with data from the weather stations at the Fabra Observatory and El Prat airport), Madrid (Retiro Park and airport), Valencia, Zaragoza, Seville, Malaga, Bilbao, Valladolid, Ciudad Real, Badajoz, Asturias, La Coruña, Ourense, Murcia, Logroño, Palma, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The study, which highlights the danger to health posed by heat waves, recalls that in the summer of 2022 there were 22,249 additional deaths in Spain compared to the expected mortality, of which at least 4,732 were due to high temperatures.

The study concludes that the average temperature increase in the main cities of Spain has risen by 3.54 °C for maximum temperatures, 2.73 °C for minimum temperatures, and that 2022 has been the hottest year on record.

Diurnal heat waves have increased from three, as an annual average for all the stations studied in the decade 1971-1980, to 9.4 in the period 1981-1990; to 8.8 in the period 1991-2000; to 13.7 in the period 2001-2010; to 15.8 in the period 2011-2020; and to 21.9 in the decade 2013-2022.

As for night-time heat waves, they have risen from 2.7 in the decade 1971-1980, to 6.8 (1981-1990); to 8.8 (1991-2000); to 20.7 (2001-2010); to 25.7 (2011-2020), and to 30 in the decade 2013-2022.

And this weekend, new record highs of around 35ºC are expected in Mallorca.