canary islands

Canary Islands experience the warmest January in 63 years

The Canary Islands saw a temperature anomaly of +3.1 degrees Celsius.

The Canary Islands experienced an exceptionally warm January in 2024, with an average temperature of 17.9 ºC. This marked a significant positive anomaly of +3.1 ºC, making it the warmest January since 1961, according to the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet).

In addition to the unusual warmth, January also proved to be remarkably dry. The accumulated precipitation for the month averaged only 4.7 mm, which is just 13% of the expected value based on the 1991-2020 reference series. This makes it one of the driest Januarys on record, ranking as the seventh driest since 1961.

Throughout the entire month of January, the average temperature in the Canary Islands consistently remained above the 1991-2020 reference series. Two distinct periods of notable temperature increases were observed, the first occurring between days 8 and 16, and the second from day 21 until the end of the month.

On January 16th, the Canary Islands recorded the highest maximum temperature ever measured in January, reaching 31.7 ºC at the Carretera del Cotillo station in La Oliva, Fuerteventura.

Canary Islands experience the warmest January in 63 years

Another notable feature of this January was the occurrence of a significant number of tropical nights, totaling 60, compared to the number typically recorded in January over the past fifteen years. These tropical nights were mainly concentrated between the 12th and 16th of the month.

The synoptic situation prevailing over the archipelago during January was characterized by high surface relative pressures, a weak baric gradient, and the presence of the African ridge at altitude. This resulted in an east-southeast flow that predominated most days of the month, with occasional episodes of calima contributing to the overall warm and dry conditions.

Although there were periods of squalls to the northwest of the islands, they did not produce significant precipitation due to subsidence over the islands. However, these squalls did strengthen the east-southeast surface-level flow, with wind gusts exceeding 100 km/h recorded at stations on the summits of Tenerife and La Gomera.

The synoptic pattern was occasionally influenced by the Atlantic anticyclone, leading to a north-northeast flow during some intervals of the month, resulting in temporary temperature drops.

Canary Islands experience the warmest January in 63 years

In terms of precipitation, there were two notable periods during January. From the 2nd to the 5th, a mass of humid air associated with the Atlantic anticyclone brought weak precipitation to areas in the north and northwest of Lanzarote, the east and northeast of La Palma, high areas of La Gomera, the east and southeast of Tenerife, and the eastern half of Gran Canaria. A more widespread impact was observed on El Hierro, while Fuerteventura remained unaffected.

Between the 15th and 20th, two consecutive situations contributed to precipitation. The first was caused by bands of medium cloudiness with embedded storms, resulting in showers and thunderstorms, especially in the southern and southwestern areas of Gran Canaria. The second situation was associated with the arrival of a relatively inactive front, linked to a trough near the northwest of the islands.

Overall, the combination of record-high temperatures and exceptionally low rainfall characterized January as an exceptionally warm and dry month in the Canary Islands.

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