canary islands

Canary Islands have definitely had a historically dry spring

The state meteorological agency forecasts one of the warmest summer seasons in recent years in the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands are bidding farewell to spring, which has been characterized by drought and periods of intense heat. On March 30th, the hottest day of the month since 1961 was recorded, with temperatures surpassing 30 degrees Celsius. Víctor Quintero, director of the state meteorological agency (Aemet) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, reported this.

Overall, spring 2023 in the Canary Islands was exceptionally warm, marking the warmest spring since 1961, with an average temperature of 18.6 degrees Celsius and a deviation of 1.9ºC. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the average temperature was 17.1ºC, exceeding the average by 2ºC, while Las Palmas recorded 19.9ºC, with a deviation of +1.8ºC.

Quintero stated that nearly all regions in the Canary Islands experienced high temperatures, with the exception of a northern strip of Tenerife, which had a warm but dry spring. Some areas on Gran Canaria even recorded temperatures above 23 degrees Celsius.

Analyzing each individual month, March was classified as “very or extremely warm,” with an average temperature of 19.8 degrees. April followed as a “very warm” month, with an average temperature of 18.4ºC, and May was categorized as “warm or very warm,” with an average temperature of 18.7ºC in lower areas and normal values in higher areas. Compared to March and April, which were the warmest months since 1961, May ranked as the eleventh warmest on record.

Throughout the quarter, temperatures remained above normal, except for the latter half of May. Notably, March experienced a warm episode with eight days where the average maximum temperature exceeded 25ºC, surpassing the values from the same month in 1990, which had a six-day episode. Tenerife Sur station recorded 37.7ºC on the 31st, Arona reached 37.5ºC, Los Llanos had 36.5ºC, and Mogán reached 37.1ºC the previous day.

June began with above-normal temperatures, with a deviation of two degrees on the 7th. Quintero emphasized that the rising spring temperatures have become a general trend over the past 50 years. Irrespective of the forecasting source, this spring has been the warmest since European ERA5 records dating back to 1940.

Regarding rainfall, this spring was the driest since 1961, with an average precipitation of 11 liters per square meter, which is only 21% of the expected rainfall for this quarter in the Canary Islands. In the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, rainfall was classified as “very sparse” at 18.9 millimeters, equivalent to just 24% of the normal amount. In the province of Las Palmas, it was labeled as “extremely dry,” with an average precipitation of 4.5 millimeters, accounting for 15% of the normal level. The northeastern slopes of Tenerife were particularly affected by severe drought.

Canary Islands: historical record since 1961

Santa Cruz de Tenerife station in Tenerife set a new record for the lowest precipitation in historical data, with only 1.4 millimeters, compared to 2 millimeters in 1947. Los Rodeos station followed closely with 15 millimeters, the second lowest, behind the 41.3 millimeters recorded in 1961.

June began with higher-than-normal temperatures due to the passage of the storm Óscar, but there was a lack of humidity. Consequently, the hydrological year so far has been very dry and well below the expected rainfall, resembling the conditions observed in 2022.

Spring 2023 witnessed the highest number of sunshine hours since 1983, with a 14% increase compared to the average for the 1991-2020 period. Regarding suspended dust, there were no significant episodes of dense haze, only isolated areas of low extent. There were merely nine days with dense haze on one island. The longest episode lasted three days from April 10th to 12th, another lasted two days on May 9th and 10th, and four episodes lasted only one day.

The average sea surface temperature reached 20.8ºC, well above normal. It stands as the highest value since 1940, with a deviation of 1.1ºC compared to 2022.

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