SPAIN experienced its hottest summer last year in 700 years, according to analysis of tree rings from north-east Spain which contain key insights about weather and precipitation.
The data was collated by experts from the National Research Council after the summer of 2022 featured record high temperatures due to hot air mass coming from North Africa.
The scientists say policy changes are needed to mitigate problems caused by global warming.
Looking at weather figures stretching back 130 years, scientists found that the average sea surface temperature was 3.3 degrees Celsius warmer than average.
On land, the 2022 summer was 2.1C hotter than average.
Researcher Ernesto Tejedor said: “In the last twenty years, heat waves and drought episodes in Spain are becoming more frequent, but 2022 was an exceptional summer in this regard, breaking temperature records.”
“The main factor was the arrival in the Iberian Peninsula of extremely warm air masses from Africa which were more frequent and persistent than usual,” he added.
Using the tree ring analysis, the scientists said it was ‘highly probable’ that last year was the hottest summer since 1322 and the driest in the last 279 years.
The country’s drought was also dramatically exacerbated by hot temperatures, which sucked more moisture from the land through evaporative demand.
“Establishing a plan to cut down the impacts of climate change, especially in cities where heat islands affect the most vulnerable populations, is fundamental,” said Tejedor.
“We suggest measures like creating climate shelters and improving resilience and adaptation of climate change,” he concluded.