AS we sunbathe on the beach in November, you do not need to be a meteorologist to realise that Spain’s winters are getting shorter. And not just by a little bit.
The winter in mainland Spain used to be defined as from December 1st to February 28th.
But a new study looking at average temperatures over recent decades shows that the Spanish winter is shrinking – something in line with climate change predictions.
Since the 1940s, winters have lost more than a month on average – over 30% less winter to be endured.
This change affects central and eastern Spain the most, with the southern parts and Canary Islands not far behind.
And as we gradually lose our coldest season, it is not necessarily the summer that wins out.
Instead, a new phenomenon has been observed whereby spring is staying for longer.
It even has its own name – ‘invernavera’, when spring decides to stick around for an extra three weeks in many places in the south, central, and east.
At the other end of winter, autumn nowadays extends into ‘inverotoño.’
Some spots in the south and east are seeing it for about ten days longer. The rest of the country’s catching up too.
They did also find that summers are lengthening, between 4 and 15 days per decade depending on the area.
It’s worth noting that these trends aren’t consistent or uniform; they show periods of fluctuation. But the trend is undeniable.
The noticeable winter shortening became more evident from the 1980s onwards in the Peninsula, while in the Canary Islands, this trend only emerged in the mid-1990s.
So, what’s it all mean? Winters in Spain are definitely getting shorter – as climate experts predicted.
But there’s a trade-off – longer springs and autumns. And even hotter summers are also in the mix.
These changes are shaking up ecosystems, agriculture, and everyday life, with unpredictable consequences.
The research, inspired by climate scientist César Rodríguez’s work, analysed the temperature series from different observatories in Spain.