“We have entered uncharted territory”

Until 15 degrees above normal. The episodes of high temperatures They have taken place during the month of April in Spain. They have brought very high temperatures for the time and have beaten heat records in numerous areas of our geography, most concentrated in the northern half.

So much so, that the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) has warned of possible forest fires in various areas of Spain in periods outside of summer. ““We have entered uncharted territory.” because “climate change induced by human activities has left us in recent years with extreme situations not previously recorded, such as the one we are immersed in this year,” warns Meteorology.

Through an 'X' thread, the state agency reminds that The three large fires of 2023 and this year have been recorded outside of summer: at the beginning of spring in the case of Villanueva de Viver and Tàrbena and in the middle of autumn in the case of Montitxelvo. All three after “three anomalous very dry and very warm periods.”

Thus, it stands out that the fire of Villanueva de Viver “It developed after a very dry and abnormally warm period that resulted in the surface layer of the soil being very dry in 100% of the territory.” The forest fire of Montitxelvo It also developed in conditions of great dryness and anomalous heat. “At that time, in November 2023, we were at the beginning of this anomalous and prolonged extremely hot and dry period that still continues,” says the AEMET. .

However, he explains that there is a “big difference” between these two fires and the one in Tàrbena. The first were developed in “very adverse weather conditions, with strong west winds”, while that of Tàrbena has developed with “a situation not favorable for rapid spread”.

“With the great dryness of the terrain, the ignition rates are high, but with light wind and breezes, the spread of fires is not very high, since the meteorological conditions do not favor this rapid spread. The situation of light wind and breezes , like Sunday, is typical of most of the spring and summer days in our territory and, with temperatures below 30 ºCthey are not usually rapid fire spreading conditions“, he explains.

Since last October 1, the Valencian Community has been chained for six and a half months “unprecedented in terms of rainfall deficit and warm anomaly” and, furthermore, with a difference compared to the second dry and warm period. In addition, it points out that 2023 as a whole was also an “extremely warm year, the second warmest after 2022, and extremely dry, the driest in the last 40 years” in the community.

Likewise, the AEMET warns that “we find ourselves with a new scenario of extreme compound phenomena that is also one of the consequences of climate change, in which at least two adverse situations simultaneously. In this case, anomalous heat and meteorological drought.” In fact, it includes the prediction of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which considers that these compound extreme episodes “are probably already more frequent due to climate change.”

“And, with high probability, the osimultaneous occurrence of heat waves and droughts in our geographical environment will increase“, he warns. Likewise, he adds that the problem is that the phenological state and water stress of the vegetation “at the moment is a permanent factor, not a variable and, in the short term and with no rain in sight, this situation will remain or worsen.