The month of August was the fifth hottest in mainland Portugal since 1931, with two heat waves and an increase in the drought situation reaching 97% of the territory, the IPMA revealed today.
The climate bulletin from the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) reports that the month of August in mainland Portugal was classified as extremely hot in terms of air temperature and dry in terms of rainfall, making it the fifth hottest since 1931, after 2003, 2018, 1949 and 2010.
According to the IPMA, during the month the August maximum temperatures were exceeded at 20 stations, the historical maximums were exceeded at seven stations, and there were two heatwaves in the Tagus Valley, the North and Central interior and the South.
The bulletin highlights days 06 and 07, 22 and 23 with very high maximum and minimum air temperatures, with 22 and 23 respectively being the fifth and sixth hottest days of the last 15 years in mainland Portugal.
The IPMA also indicates that during the month of August, there was no precipitation in most of the territory, except in the Minho region, particularly on the 18th and 19th, with daily values of more than 40 millimetres.
The document also highlights the decrease in the percentage of water in the soil throughout the territory, which is more significant in the Tagus Valley, Alentejo and Algarve regions.
According to the IPMA, these regions have a percentage of water in the soil of less than 10%, and in many places “the water content in the soil is at the level of the permanent wilting point”.
The bulletin also points out that, at the end of August, there was an increase in the intensity of the meteorological drought in almost all of mainland Portugal, with the districts of Setúbal, Évora, Beja and Faro standing out with an increase in the area in extreme drought.
According to the document, on August 31st 97% of the territory was in meteorological drought, of which 46% was in the severe and extreme drought classes.
The IPMA also reports on the global weather situation, saying that “August 2023 was the hottest month on record and hotter than any other month except July 2023”, with heatwaves occurring in various regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including southern Europe, the southern United States and Japan.
“Air temperatures were above the climatological average in most of Europe, with southern Europe experiencing heatwaves in Portugal, France and Italy. Milan recorded its hottest average daily temperature since 1763. The heat in southern Europe extended as far as North Africa/Maghreb, with Morocco recording a temperature of over 50.4°C for the first time,” writes the IPMA.
The document states that Turkey, Eastern Europe and an area over the Kara Sea also experienced temperatures well above average, while an area centred on southern Scandinavia, including the Netherlands and the south of the United Kingdom, recorded temperatures close to or below average.
Regarding precipitation in Europe, the IPMA indicates that wetter than average conditions were experienced in a large part of Central Europe and Scandinavia, with heavy rainfall leading to flooding, but on the other hand, drier than average conditions were recorded in the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, Iceland and much of Eastern Europe, including the southern Balkans.
The IPMA also highlights the occurrence of forest fires in France, Greece, Italy and Portugal in August.