The upward trend is clear: the world gets warmer every year and Malaga is no exception. The stifling wind and increasingly hot days were especially notable this summer and figures released from the Spanish weather agency Aemet have just confirmed it: the average maximum temperature in the months of June, July and August was 31.8C, the highest since records began in 1943.
Aemet uses a thermometer at Malaga airport to monitor the weather in the city. This summer did not see the highest temperature so far – that was in 1978 with 44.2C - but we have had to endure the hottest temperatures over a longer period of time, and therefore a daily average that has broken all records.
In June, July and August the temperatures were not extreme, having gone above 35C on just seven days, but what is unusual is the length of time they were between 28C and 35C. The average was 27.9C over the three months, apart from four days.
Isn’t this normal in summer? No, said climate change expert José-Damian Ruiz-Sinoga. “At 5 o’clock on a July afternoon it is normally very hot, and inland it may even be a bit hotter. That’s normal, but what isn’t is that the temperature didn’t drop much at night this summer”.
Enrique Salvo Tierra of the University of Malaga agreed. “This is not normal. In two or three years we will probably have temperatures of 50C here in the summer. Don’t forget that we face Africa, a continent with a desert which broke all records on the planet last year: it reached 56C and it’s only 450 kilometres from here. That’s about the same distance from Malaga as Madrid," he said.
Experts consulted by SUR have said this situation cannot be reversed. Society is going to have to get used to periods of extreme heat and will have to learn to adapt.
"There are a number of gases in the atmosphere that generate microcrystallites and increase global warming. These gases must therefore be eliminated to mitigate the greenhouse effect. But it will be many years before we can reduce them," José-Damian Ruiz-Sinoga said.
The Salvo Tierra organisation explained that there is one immediate ‘therapy’ for this problem: plant more trees in the city.
“They kidnap the greenhouse gases and incorporate them into their own organism. In fact, there can be a temperature difference of 12 degrees under a tree or out in the sun. This is the ideal way to go, and especially in Malaga city where there are not enough trees as it is," sources said.
Changes can also be made at an individual level. Enrique Salvo is convinced that between us we can collaborate to, at least, slow down the advance.
“We must be very careful about how much water we use, we should use insulating fabrics to keep warm in winter instead of turning the heating up and, something essential: we need more sustainable mobility via public transport. In the meantime, in the field of research we will continue to look for remedies,” he said.