Malaga province's Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir is at its lowest level ever. Salvador Salas
Driest year on the Costa del Sol since at least 1872 draws to a close

Driest year on the Costa del Sol since at least 1872 draws to a close

With only 179mm of rain recorded in the official gauge at Malaga Airport in 2023, it marks a new low since the data was first recorded in the 19th century

Ignacio Lillo


Friday, 29 December 2023, 12:11

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There are still a couple of days left until the end of the year but there is no hint of dark clouds on the horizon. So it can already be safely said that 2023 will go down as the driest year since any sort of historical weather records have been kept in Malaga.

But, on this occasion, the record does not just go back to the middle 20th century, as normal - 1942 was the year when the official records of the Aemet state weather agency began. Instead, this new record has its roots much further back than that.

The 179.3mm that has been collected this year in the official Aemet rain gauge at Malaga Airport is the lowest figure since the first, more rudimentary records began to be recorded in some academic institutions in Malaga city in 1872, around 150 years ago. The discovery was made by José Luis Escudero, an expert in Malaga meteorology and contributor to SUR. His first investigations confirmed that since official Aemet records have been kept at the Costa del Sol airport (1942) the last twelve months have been the driest. It is also the first time the amount has fallen to below 200 mm.

Click here to read more about the current drought situation in Malaga province and on the Costa del Sol

The second driest year, according to Aemet, happened very recently, specifically in 2019, with 204.6mm; and the third, in 1985 (266.4mm). On the other hand, during the 21st century the opposite has also happened: the wettest year was 2010, with 1,240mm.

But there was a second part to Escudero's research, using information provided by Pablo Aguayo, head of the climatology unit of the meteorological centre of Malaga, as there has been primitive data from manual stations in the city since 1872. Escudero pointed out that professors at the Gaona Institute have also already analysed the historical meteorological observation data, And, with these figures in hand, it shows that 2023 is also the year with the least rain since the mid-19th century. The second worst was 1922, with 196 mm.

José Luis Escudero intends to continue investigating this historic weather data, working on the theory that the temperatures of this last year have also been the highest since there have been both official and unofficial records.

Forecast for January

In terms of the forecast for January in Malaga province, Escudero said that there is still a lot of meteorological uncertainty at the moment. The good news is that the weekly prediction of the European model (which is the most used) gives a probability of rain above average in the whole of Andalucía during the last three weeks, starting from the Three Kings celebration. Although Escudero is cautious: "Up until three days before the front arrives, I don't trust it."

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