December temperatures in Spain break new record highs, putting ski season at risk

FOR THE THIRD time this year, Spain has seen a monthly temperature record smashed, after the mercury reached 29.9ºC on Tuesday in the southern city of Malaga. The unseasonably high temperatures are delaying the start of the country’s ski season. 

The worrying milestone comes after Cordoba set an April high of 38.8ºC, and Montoro in Cordoba saw 38.2ºC in October, according to a report in Spanish daily El Pais

This week’s record was reported by state meteorological service Aemet via its social media accounts.

“This is the highest temperature registered in the month of December in peninsular Spain since records began,” their message read.

Other parts of Spain have also seen unusually warm weather, such as Valencia, which has hit around 27ºC according to news agency Reuters, which is 2ºC higher than the previous record for December.

Aemet spokesperson Ruben del Campo told Reuters that this unusual heat, along with predictions of low rainfall from here until the end of February, augured a bad season for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, and that depend on plenty of snow. 

The warm conditions were caused by a mass of hot air sweeping over the Iberian peninsula yesterday. “It’s one of the warmest masses of air to have ever overflown Spain at this point in December,” Del Campo told Reuters. 

Spain suffered four heatwaves this year, while the year 2023 is already the hottest on record on a global scale. Scientists widely attribute this phenomenon to climate change caused by human activity. 

Speaking to Reuters, Vicente Solsona, 66, lamented the lack of snow at the Navacerrada ski slopes in Madrid.

“We’re calmly destroying everything,” he said, pointing out that there should already be 50 centimetres of snow on the slopes by this time of year. “The problem is that there’s no going back.” 

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