Spain sees record December temperatures, endangering ski season

By Ecomili

December 13, 2023 at 6:35 AM


MADRID (Reuters) - Temperatures across Spain smashed records for December as a mass of hot air swept over the Iberian Peninsula on Tuesday, pushing the mercury close to 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in the south and delaying the start of the ski season.

While the Northern Hemisphere gears up for the arrival of winter, Spaniards' hopes of a "white" Christmas are waning after a summer with four heatwaves amidst the hottest year on record, part of a global pattern of rising temperatures that is widely attributed by scientists to human activity.

"It's one of the warmest masses of air to have ever overflown Spain at this point in December," Ruben del Campo, a spokesperson for the national weather agency AEMET, said.

Del Campo pointed to cities on the sunny Mediterranean coast such as Valencia, which recorded temperatures of at least 27C, two degrees higher than the previous record for the last month of the year.

He added that the unseasonable heat, coupled with predictions of sparse rainfall until the end of February, heralded a "not very good" season for winter sports that depend on abundant snow, which once melted is also a crucial water resource for the spring and summer months.

The exceptional warmth is likely to end after Wednesday when AEMET forecasts cooler air from higher latitudes will bring temperatures down to more normal values for December.

At the popular ski resort of Navacerrada outside Madrid, visitors bemoaned the lack of snow.

"It's a terrifying feeling because this should really be covered in snow or frozen over, but instead it's green and lush for this time of the year," Tania, a 32-year-old marine biologist who only gave her first name, told Reuters.

Vicente Solsona, a 66-year-old retired university professor from eastern Castellon province, said that Navacerrada should have at least one metre (3.3 feet) of snow on such a date.

"We're calmly destroying everything," he added. "The problem is that there's no going back."

(Reporting by Marco Trujillo; Writing by David Latona; Editing by Inti Landauro and Sharon Singleton)


Reuters is a news agency owned by Thomson Reuters Corporation. It employs around 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world.

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