canary islands

March 2023 was a ‘very hot’ month for the Canary Islands

According to the monthly climatological summary of the national meteorological agency (AEMET), March was a 'very hot' or 'extremely hot' month in the Canary Islands, with temperatures reaching almost 38 degrees Celsius.

March 2023 was the second warmest and driest March of the 21st century as, with the exception of the first week, temperatures were above normal throughout the period, resulting in an average temperature 1.8 degrees Celsius (ºC) above normal and rainfall barely 36 per cent of normal. In the Canary Islands it was a ‘very hot’ or ‘extremely hot’ month with temperatures approaching 38 degrees Celsius.

This is according to the monthly climatological summary of the National Meteorological Agency (AEMET), which highlights that the month was “very hot and very dry” throughout Spain.

The analysis highlights that the temperature in the Canary Islands was close to 38ºC and that the month was dry or very dry except in Galicia, the southwest of Castilla y León and Extremadura, and in the Balearic and Canary Islands. In fact, this March was the second warmest and second driest of the 21st century and the third warmest and sixth driest since the historical series began 62 years ago, according to AEMET spokesman Rubén del Campo.

The record explains that the average temperature on the peninsula was 11.6ºC, a value 1.8ºC above the normal average according to the 1991-2020 reference period. By area, the peninsula was very warm in most of the Spanish peninsula, extremely warm in some parts of the Cantabrian Sea and in the east, and warm in parts of the western third. In the Balearic Islands it was very warm, while in the Canary Islands it was very warm or extremely warm.

The thirtieth began with a cold episode, with values below normal for the season, even reaching -11.5ºC in Molina de Aragón (Guadalajara). However, from the 7th to the end of the month there was a “long and intense” warm period, as temperatures were well above normal.

The last days of the month reached 37.7ºC in Tenerife South, as part of a very warm episode that affected the Canary archipelago, and 33ºC in Murcia. This March, 12 records were broken for the highest daily minimum temperatures in March and 10 for the highest daily maximum temperatures in the month.

In terms of rainfall, the month was very dry, with an average of only 21.2 litres per square metre, which is 36 per cent of normal for the month, according to the 1991-2020 reference period. It was dry to very dry in almost all of Spain, and extremely dry in parts of Aragon and Catalonia. On the Atlantic side of the peninsula it was normal to humid, especially in Galicia, southwest Castile and León, and northern Extremadura. In the Balearic Islands, March was dry or very dry, except in Ibiza, where it was wet. In the Canary Islands, the month was dry to very dry on all islands.

Throughout the month, rain fell in large parts of the area only during the first ten days. Between 10 and 20 March, precipitation was confined to the northern third and the northwest and affected the south only sporadically, while in the last ten days it rained only in Galicia and the extreme north of the peninsula and snowed in the Pyrenees.

AEMET stresses that after a month of particularly low rainfall in March, the meteorological drought continues throughout Spain, both for the indicators of the last twelve months and for those of the last thirty-six months, which means that the long-term drought that began at the end of December 2022 continues.

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