April was the hottest month in the world, weak drought returned to the south of Portugal

The weak drought returned to the south of the country, in the municipalities of Mértola and Vila Real de Santo António

Surface air temperature anomaly in April 2024 in relation to the 1991–2020 climatological normal – Source: Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF

Last April was the hottest ever recorded worldwide, with a global average temperature of 15.03°C, that is, 0.67°C above the average value between 1991 and 2020, announced the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere ( IPMA).

Globally, the month is estimated to have been around 1.58°C warmer than the pre-industrial average of 1850-1900.

The IPMA highlights that this is «the eleventh hottest consecutive month ever recorded for the respective month of the year».

In Europe, the average air temperature was + 1.49°C above the 1991-2020 average value, making it the 2nd hottest April since records began.

Last month, temperatures higher than the 1991-2020 average were recorded in Eastern European regions. The largest anomalies occurred in western Russia, eastern Ukraine and Turkey.

Some areas showed temperature anomalies of +7°C. Moscow recorded a new daily temperature record, 23.2°C, on April 2nd (previous maximum in 1951).

Southeast Europe and Southern Italy also recorded above-average temperatures, as did the Iberian Peninsula, where some parts had days with maximum temperatures above 30°C.

In contrast, temperatures were below average in Iceland and Sweden, where a new minimum temperature was recorded, -32,2°C in Västerbotten.

Regarding precipitation, in April, the weather was wetter than average, in most parts of northwest, central and northeast Europe.

On the other hand, most of southern Europe, including large parts of eastern Spain, peninsular Italy, the western Balkans, Turkey, Ukraine and southern Russia, as well as Iceland, were drier than average.

IPMA adds that, in April 2024, the climate was predominantly wetter than average in most of northwest, central and northeast Europe.

Most of southern Europe, including large parts of eastern Spain, peninsular Italy, the western Balkans, Turkey, Ukraine and southern Russia, as well as Iceland, were drier than average.

 

Anomaly in the average air temperature and percentage of precipitation in April (period 1941 – 2024) in relation to the average value 1981-2010.

 

In mainland Portugal, last April was very hot in terms of air temperature and very dry in terms of precipitation.

According to IPMA, in the national territory it was the 10th hottest April since 1931 and the 4th hottest since 2000; the average value of the average air temperature, 15.45°C, registered an anomaly of +1.86°C in relation to the 1981-2010 normal.

The average value of the maximum air temperature, 21.59°C, was 2.87°C higher than normal, being the 8th highest since 1931 and the 4th highest since 2000. The average value of the minimum air temperature, 9.33°C, was 0.86° C above normal, the 7th highest since 2000.

During the month, the relatively long period of air temperature values ​​above the monthly average values ​​stands out, being most significant in the maximum temperature between the 10th and 24th.

The period from 11 to 14 April stands out when more than 80% of the stations recorded maximum air temperatures of more than 25°C and 20% equal to or greater than 30°C. A heat wave occurred between the 10th and 24th of April and covered almost the entire territory, with the exception of the Central coast and the Algarve.

In terms of precipitation, this was the 6th driest April since 2000, with a total of 43.5 mm, which corresponds to just over half (56%) of the 1981-2010 average value.

During the month, more significant rainfall was recorded in the North and part of the Center, especially in the first few days, as well as from the 26th until the end of April.

It was also found that the weak drought class reappeared in the municipalities of Mértola and Vila Real de Santo António. At the end of April, around 8% of the territory was in mild meteorological drought.

 

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