Spain Registers Hottest Spring Temperatures on Record

A woman using a fan to cool-off walks past a man lying in the shade in Seville on April 26, 2023 as Spain is bracing for an early heat wave. (AFP)
A woman using a fan to cool-off walks past a man lying in the shade in Seville on April 26, 2023 as Spain is bracing for an early heat wave. (AFP)
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Spain Registers Hottest Spring Temperatures on Record

A woman using a fan to cool-off walks past a man lying in the shade in Seville on April 26, 2023 as Spain is bracing for an early heat wave. (AFP)
A woman using a fan to cool-off walks past a man lying in the shade in Seville on April 26, 2023 as Spain is bracing for an early heat wave. (AFP)

Spain registered its hottest spring on record this year, and its second driest ever, the state meteorological agency said Wednesday.

Rubén Del Campo, spokesman for the Aemet weather agency, said the latest data showed a continuation of the extremely high temperatures the country suffered in 2022, which was the hottest year ever recorded in Spain.

The spring heat was accompanied by a scarcity of rain that will exacerbate Spain's long-term drought, despite some rainfall over the last month. Spain's Ecological Transition Ministry reported Tuesday that the country's reservoirs are at 47.4% of their capacity, consolidating a downward trend.

Del Campo noted knock-on effects for the Mediterranean country's ecosystem. “Surface water temperatures recorded in 2022 were the highest since at least 1940,” he told a press conference, warning that the phenomenon endangered marine life and its ability to reproduce.

The situation inland was also made much more precarious. “These high temperatures have repercussions on both human health and ecosystems in terms of increased likelihood of forest fires,” the spokesman added.

Del Campo also issued predictions for the summer ahead, which he said would likely be “extremely hot,” though with a probability of some rainstorms. The Aemet spokesman said it was not clear that the El Niño weather phenomenon would contribute to the expected high temperatures in Spain. El Niño is a cyclical warming of the world's oceans and weather, which is forecast to return later this year.

The Spanish government announced 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) worth of drought response measures last month, including funding for urban water reuse and further aid for struggling farmers.

Spain is Europe’s leading producer and exporter of fresh fruit and vegetables. The country requested emergency funds from the European Union in April given the dire prognosis for this year’s crops.



Heat Wave in Greece Halts Visits to Acropolis

Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
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Heat Wave in Greece Halts Visits to Acropolis

Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS

Authorities in Athens announced on Wednesday the closure of the Acropolis for five hours due to heat wave temperatures that also prompted many schools to close.
The ancient site in the Greek capital — which drew nearly 4 million visitors last year — was closed from midday till 5 p.m. as the temperature was set to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), The Associated Press reported.
Elementary schools and preschool classes were also canceled in parts of southern and central Greece where the temperatures were highest.
City authorities announced that garbage collection would also be halted for several hours Wednesday and that seven air-conditioned spaces would be opened to the public. Drones with thermal cameras were being used in Athens to coordinate the public health response, officials said.
Cooler weather is expected late Friday.

Greece is one of the most climate-impacted countries in Europe. Last year, rising temperatures fuelled deadly wildfires and erratic rains caused some of the worst flooding on record, both of which damaged crops and livelihoods.
Last winter was the hottest on record and rainfall was low, creating the conditions for more fires, scientists say.
Similar conditions were seen last year across much of southern Europe, including Portugal, France, Spain and Italy where fires caused dozens of deaths.
In Greece, fires began earlier than expected this year, including one in March.