Saturday, November 27

The Mediterranean already reaches temperatures like those of the Caribbean


The Mediterranean is experiencing this summer a wide repertoire of unusual climatic phenomena that show the change that the planet is undergoing: sudden rises in sea level (as happened in Alicante a few days ago), heat waves, hot rains and the increase in temperature from sea. Specific, this August the waters of this sea have reached 27.4ºC, very similar to those of the Caribbean.

This is the second highest temperature since data began to be collected in 1982, according to the Center for Environmental Studies in the Mediterranean (CEAM).

The warming of the sea is a factor that has become one of the most prominent negative manifestations of the climate panorama in the Valencian Community, because this thermal increase is responsible for the violence of the cold drops, which usually occur in autumn), as well as tropical and equatorial nights.

Jorge Olcina, director of the Laboratory of Climatology at the University of Alicante, warns that “we will still see how the sea temperature continues to rise and will reach 28 degrees.”

At the moment, the Mediterranean presents this August characteristics quite similar to those of the Caribbean Sea, with unusually warm water. This is a determining factor to feed the cold drop of autumn, when torrential rains occur, episodes that this year could come earlier and be more intense.

Since 1980, the average temperature of the Mediterranean has increased by 0.8 degrees, according to official records, and this warming is directly responsible for tropical nights, that is, those in which the temperature does not drop below 20 degrees.

Warm rains in August

The Mediterranean is experiencing a very varied August in the meteorological plane, and even this week the so-called warm rains have also occurred.

“There is not a large mass of cold air, but when there is a lot of heat on the surface, the contrast between that intense heat on the surface and the less warm air in the middle layers of the atmosphere causes low clouds to be generated, stratocumulus, which are the ones that discharge rain ”, affirms Jorge Olcina.

“Little amount of water and in the form of a shower. They are the so-called warm rains that occur especially on the coastline. In recent years this type of precipitation has been forming, which is also caused by the accumulated heat in the Mediterranean ”, he adds.

The State Meteorological Agency defines these rains as those that are generated in the lower layers of the troposphere with temperatures above 0 ºC and in which, therefore, the ice phase processes do not intervene. They are characterized by being composed mainly of very small drops. This makes, observed by radar, have low reflectivities, which can make their detection difficult.

Benidorm beach. Photo: David Revenga

Despite this, it is sometimes very efficient precipitation, which can lead to considerable accumulations in short intervals of time. Warm rains tend to occur more often over warm seas and oceans and in their coastal areas.

According to Francisco Martin Leon of Meteored, for the warm rain to be generated, the temperatures throughout the cloud, where the precipitation is generated, must be above zero degrees, so that the ice particles are almost absent.

On the other hand, the heat wave caused the city of Alicante to break its historical record for thermal sensation and with it, that of the province, after registering on Sunday, in addition, the second highest temperature in the history of the city with 39.5 degrees, 1.9 degrees from the record for the July 1994 heat wave (41.4 degrees), according to data from the Laboratory of Climatology of the University of Alicante.

Sunday was the most muggy day in the history of the province because at 2:00 p.m. the thermometer marked 38 degrees in Alicante with 45% humidity, so the thermal sensation was the highest in the climatic history as it was similar to 46 degrees in the shade, according to the climatologist Jorge Olcina.

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