Spain and Portugal recorded their hottest April on record as a mass of hot air brought temperatures above 30C and close to 40C in some areas at the end of the month.
Last month was the fourth-hottest month of April on record globally for the 1991 to 2020 period, according to a report by the European Union’s Earth observation agency Copernicus. Parts of Africa, the area around the Caspian Sea, Southeast Asia, Japan and northern North America were all much warmer than average.
Extreme heat in the western Mediterranean region would have been almost impossible without climate change, a different scientific report concluded last week. Greenhouse gases emitted by humans have warmed the planet by about 1.2C since pre-industrial times, and every year since 2015 has been among the warmest on record.
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Average temperatures in the Iberian Peninsula in April were 3C above the average between 1991 and 2020, according to a separate statement on Monday by Spanish meteorological agency Aemet. Maximum temperatures during the month were 4.7C above average, with 38.8C recorded at the airport of the southern city of Córdoba on April 27.
The heat wave happened amid a widespread drought that’s hitting the region for the second consecutive year. April was Spain’s driest month since records started in 1961, according to Aemet. The month was also drier than average south of the Alps, in regions of Mediterranean France, north-western Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and much of western Russia.
This year, average temperatures are expected to remain warm amid a growing likelihood that an El Niño event will emerge toward the second part of the year. This phenomenon occurs when the equatorial Pacific warms and reacts with the atmosphere, disrupting weather patterns across the planet.
During April, “above-average temperatures were observed over the equatorial eastern Pacific, which is an early sign for a potential transition to El Niño conditions often leading to warmer global temperatures,” Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement.
In contrast, Alaska, Mongolia, the Arabian Peninsula, India and Australia were colder than average in April. Meanwhile, the south-eastern US, parts of east Asia, north-western Australia and Tanzania were wetter than average.
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