Monday, February 6

That dark red spot is the umpteenth heat wave coming next week. And yes, it’s over Spain

Well, it seems that summer is not over yet. If the predictive models are fulfilled, for August 13 and 14 we will experience a new episode of extreme heat (and more than likely another heat wave). Obviously, the uncertainty is still very high and we do not know exactly how DANA will behave, which threatens to box us back in ten days.

For this reason, what is worrying here goes beyond the temperatures: what is worrying is seeing the same atmospheric structure over and over again drawing on the maps for months; that is to say, what is worrying is the permanent feeling of ‘déjà vu’. Are we in the ‘summer of the groundhog’?

Once again a DANA hooked in the Atlantic. As explained in RAM, “if this situation occurs, it would be accompanied by the height structure of DANA (anticyclonic ridge) with the entry of torrid African air”. It is the same structure that has been hammering us all summer and, for that reason, perhaps it is time to ask if it is a configuration that is here to stay.

In the end, as Ángel Rivera pointed out, a historical of the INM-AEMET, there is still a lot of uncertainty about how DANA will finally behave; after several DANAs, the last notice finally came to nothing (and, for example, the ECMWF model is relatively better). However, you have to be alert because “What is clear is that since the 1980s and 1990s there have been important changes in the atmospheric circulation that seem to be getting worse.”

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It rains on wet (and more than it will rain). Beyond the exhaustion that we drag with the heat, this has problems in the medium-long term. As González Alemán pointed out, from the AEMET, everything seems to indicate the imminence of this warm atmospheric event in the Mediterranean, it will further complicate the situation in the areas of this sea that are already experiencing a “marine heat wave”; something that, it seems, “will get worse in the next 10-15 days”.

This is an ecological problem, of course, and the thermal crisis is compromising many marine environments (with its direct consequences for fishing grounds); but it is also a problem on land because, as we have explained on several occasions, the heat of the water is a factor that increases the size and virulence of the “cold drops” (if they occur). If the Mediterranean arrives hot in autumn, we can expect much more intense storms than usual and everything that that entails.

The new normal? That is what is really worrying. Not that this year is unusual, not even that the water season is going to be very harsh this 2022-23: what really has experts alert is the possibility that these atmospheric circulation dynamics (which seem to condemn us to a permanent heat wave ) become the new summer weather normal.

And it has them on alert because that would subject the systems that Spain has developed in recent years to considerable stress. To put it bluntly: if this situation proves stable, we will be forced to conceptualize many of the most basic infrastructures of society and in a rather critical environment, too. For this reason, beyond whether or not the predictive models on 13-14 are correct, the panorama is complicated.

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