Sea Temperatures Increase Hurricane Risk

IMAGE - Bob Hines / NASA

SPAIN’S meteorological agency has released a prediction that Spain may be hit by hurricanes this summer and that the effects may be “devastating”.

Spain is in the middle of hurricane season. Every year, from June 1 to November 30, this phenomenon takes place and weather experts are concerned about how the rising sea temperatures may impact the formation of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, causing an increased risk.

In the coming weeks, Spain’s weather conditions could be ripe for a hurricane that could seriously alter the weather in Spain.

What is a Hurricane?

NASA describes hurricanes as “the most powerful meteorological event on Earth.” A hurricane feeds off heat and humidity on the ocean to create a rapidly rotating storm centre, with low pressure in the centre that generates strong winds and storms. They usually form over the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and almost always affect the same risk areas. Recent trends indicate that this may change.

Hurricanes are known by many names, they can be called typhoons and tropical cyclones.  To be classified as a hurricane, wind speeds must reach above 120 kilometres per hour, below this wind speed, it is classified as a tropical storm. Hurricanes can be between 300 and 800 kilometres in diameter, and in their centre, in the most extreme cases, sustained winds can exceed 250 kilometres per hour.

The rising sea temperatures in Spain may be a key factor in the creation of a hurricane, weather experts say that the three ingredients of a hurricane include warm seas (above 25 degrees Celsius), high humidity in the air mass above the sea, and a lack of shear, which is when different winds blow with different directions and intensities as altitude increases.

Hurricanes in Spain

Historically, Spain has not suffered from many hurricanes. The Iberian Peninsula is situated at a latitude where sea temperatures are lower than in the tropics. Furthermore, the dry winds blowing in from the Sahara decrease the humidity of the environment.

However, recently, the increase in sea temperatures has increased the risk of this meteorological phenomenon. Sea temperatures were recorded at 28.4 degrees Celsius on July 24, according to the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

Spain had a scare with Hurricane Vince in 2005 when it formed near Madeira and diminished in force to become only. tropical depression when it reached Spain. This was the first hurricane scare recorded in Spain.

Hurricane Ophelia in 2017 was a category 3 hurricane, passing a few hundred kilometres from Galicia, it generated a wind storm which exacerbated the active forest fires in the area, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in recent history.

2018 brought Hurricane Leslie, which formed near the Azores islands and hit Portugal as a category 1 storm. The storm caused severe damage in Spain and left thousands of houses without electricity.

Extreme Weather

Experts emphasise that the extreme phenomenon of hurricanes will become more and more common in Spain, along with recent weather phenomena such as heat waves, storms or heavy rains.

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Written by

Lisa Zeffertt

Lisa is British, born in Hong Kong and has lived in many countries including the UK, Hong Kong, Cyprus, and Thailand, Spain has been her home for the past 10 years. After graduating with a BA in English Literature and Art History, she has worked in different sectors, most recently as a ghostwriter and translator for six years Writing is one of her passions, as well as working in both Spanish (fluent) and English.