During the first twelve days of April, in the whole of Spain have only accumulated 3 l/m². It’s not just that it’s a much lower number than normal for this month; is that it is extremely little. It should not be forgotten that, up to now, the driest April on record is that of 1995 and that year 23 l/m² fell throughout the month.
And that’s not the worst. What’s worse is that the weather models are pretty clear: no widespread showers on the horizon. Yes, it is possible that during the next ten days rain in the northern third of the Peninsula, but most of the country will be without rainfall.
There is still hope that the last week of the month will be rainy (every time lessbut there are), but it will have to be a lot so as not to end the month like April as the driest of the entire historical series.
A long drought… The problem is that it is not something isolated. As the AEMET map shows, “in practically the entire country the rains are below their normal average, and in large areas of the south and east of the Peninsula, they do not even reach a quarter”. In other words, the driest April would come after a historically warm and dry month of March and in a lousy year (with very low water reserves).
…that it hasn’t ended (nor will it end). Because, as the Agency points out, only an extremely rainy month of May could get us out of the “meteorological drought”. That is to say, of the “continued scarcity of rainfall” (because of the hydrological drought — “the decrease in the availability of surface and ground water” — no one is going to free us in the short term).
What happens is that most likely it will not be “extraordinarily rainy.” According to the ECMWFthe May-June-July quarter looks set to be warmer than normal and, although it is not yet clear what will happen to the precipitation, nothing seems to indicate that we are going to have a spell of rain enough to reverse the trend.
There is something else: flash droughts. And it is that a group of Chinese and American researchers has published a work in Science in which they analyze the available data on the evolution, duration and distribution of droughts throughout the world since 1951. The conclusions are very curious: it shows that the droughts are becoming more common; but that some are becoming more frequent than others.
Usually, droughts are like this one that affects us in Spain. Decades are extended in which low rainfall puts the systems to the limit very little by little; allowing them to adapt better or worse. Sudden (or ‘flash’) droughts, on the other hand, occur very quickly and have a much more aggressive impact on ecosystems because they have no leeway to adapt.
These are precisely the ones that are growing the most. In the reference period, they have become 74% more common.
Problems problems and more problems. That is to say, to the structural problems that we have been dragging, at least, since 2014, new phenomena are now added that can end up destroying the water balance of specific regions. Much less predictable and faster phenomena. That is, places to which it is much more difficult to adapt.
And, if that weren’t enough, El Niño (and its global heat) is becoming more likely. According to a newly released report by NOAA, there is a 62% chance that “El Niño” conditions will set in during the May-June period. I mean, it’s not just the oceans that are venturing into “uncharted territory”… it’s the entire planet.
In Xataka | The oceans have just entered unknown territory: their highest temperature since we have records
Imagen | ECMWF