Filomena, heat waves and the Mar Menor





The storm Filomena, the fires that devoured the Mediterranean and the agony of the Mar Menor are just some of the events that have marked 2021, a year marked by the coronavirus, but also by the natural disasters, which have increased dramatically since 2019.

This 2021 was expected to be decisive in the fight against climate change: The United States was returning to the Paris Agreement and world leaders were meeting at the Glasgow Climate Summit. The results of the meetings are yet to be seen, however, for the head of climate and energy at Ecologistas en Acción, Javier Andaluz, it has been “another year of statements without real facts.”

They have served to demonstrate what has been put on the table for decades

The World Health Organization (WHO) presented a report in which it highlighted that climate change is “the greatest threat to health facing humanityEven a dinosaur, Frankie, warned of the extinction of humans. However, the best alerts have been the extreme weather events which, as environmental scientist Alberto Vizcaíno points out, “has served to demonstrate what has been put on the table for decades.”

Filomena, a historic snowfall in Madrid and the melting of the Arctic

In Spain the year started with a historic snowfall in Madrid, the largest since 1971. The streets of the capital were covered with more than 50 centimeters of snow and 70% of the trees in emblematic parks were affected. Total, the damages caused were quantified at 279 million euros. The culprit was the storm Filomena, which especially devastated the center and this peninsula

Arboles y la iluminación de Navidad no han resistido el peso de la nieve en Madrid.

n”,”imgRatio”:1.4993239327796022,”seo”:”arboles-iluminacion-navidad-no-han-resistido-peso-nieve-madrid”,”alt”:”Arboles y la iluminación de Navidad no han resistido el peso de la nieve en Madrid”,”title”:”Arboles y la iluminación de Navidad no han resistido el peso de la nieve en Madrid”,”sign”:”EFE/Rodrigo Jiménez”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/arboles-iluminacion-navidad-no-han-resistido-peso-nieve-madrid/1/”,”stats”:{“title”:”Arboles y la iluminación de Navidad no han resistido el peso de la nieve en Madrid”,”encodedTitle”:”Arboles%20y%20la%20iluminaci%C3%B3n%20de%20Navidad%20no%20han%20resistido%20el%20peso%20de%20la%20nieve%20en%20Madrid”,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/arboles-iluminacion-navidad-no-han-resistido-peso-nieve-madrid/1/”,”via”:”rtve”}},{“imageFull”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/varios-coches-permanecen-enterrados-bajo-nieve-calle-gerardo-lobo-toledo/1610292315359.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610292315359.jpg”},”imageMin”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/varios-coches-permanecen-enterrados-bajo-nieve-calle-gerardo-lobo-toledo/1610292315359.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610292315359.jpg”},”description”:”

Varios coches permanecen enterrados bajo la nieve en la calle Gerardo Lobo en Toledo.

n”,”imgRatio”:1.5,”seo”:”varios-coches-permanecen-enterrados-bajo-nieve-calle-gerardo-lobo-toledo”,”alt”:”Varios coches permanecen enterrados bajo la nieve en la calle Gerardo Lobo en Toledo.”,”title”:”Varios coches permanecen enterrados bajo la nieve en la calle Gerardo Lobo en Toledo”,”sign”:”EFE/ Ángeles Visdómine”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/varios-coches-permanecen-enterrados-bajo-nieve-calle-gerardo-lobo-toledo/2/”,”stats”:{“title”:”Varios coches permanecen enterrados bajo la nieve en la calle Gerardo Lobo en Toledo”,”encodedTitle”:”Varios%20coches%20permanecen%20enterrados%20bajo%20la%20nieve%20en%20la%20calle%20Gerardo%20Lobo%20en%20Toledo”,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/varios-coches-permanecen-enterrados-bajo-nieve-calle-gerardo-lobo-toledo/2/”,”via”:”rtve”}},{“imageFull”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/camion-atascado-nieve-barracas-castellon/1610291955142.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610291955142.jpg”},”imageMin”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/camion-atascado-nieve-barracas-castellon/1610291955142.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610291955142.jpg”},”description”:”

Un camión atascado en la nieve en Barracas (Castellón).

n”,”imgRatio”:1.5,”seo”:”camion-atascado-nieve-barracas-castellon”,”alt”:”Un camión atascado en la nieve en Barracas (Castellón).”,”title”:”Un camión atascado en la nieve en Barracas (Castellón)”,”sign”:”EFE/Biel Aliño”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/camion-atascado-nieve-barracas-castellon/3/”,”stats”:{“title”:”Un camión atascado en la nieve en Barracas (Castellón)”,”encodedTitle”:”Un%20cami%C3%B3n%20atascado%20en%20la%20nieve%20en%20Barracas%20(Castell%C3%B3n)”,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/camion-atascado-nieve-barracas-castellon/3/”,”via”:”rtve”}},{“imageFull”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/persona-corre-nieve-ciudadela-pamplona-navarra/1610291925680.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610291925680.jpg”},”imageMin”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/persona-corre-nieve-ciudadela-pamplona-navarra/1610291925680.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610291925680.jpg”},”description”:”

Una persona corre en la nieve en la Ciudadela de Pamplona (Navarra). 

n”,”imgRatio”:1.3836317135549872,”seo”:”persona-corre-nieve-ciudadela-pamplona-navarra”,”alt”:”Una persona corre en la nieve en la Ciudadela de Pamplona (Navarra). “,”title”:”Una persona corre en la nieve en la Ciudadela de Pamplona (Navarra)”,”sign”:”EFE/ Jesús Diges”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/persona-corre-nieve-ciudadela-pamplona-navarra/4/”,”stats”:{“title”:”Una persona corre en la nieve en la Ciudadela de Pamplona (Navarra)”,”encodedTitle”:”Una%20persona%20corre%20en%20la%20nieve%20en%20la%20Ciudadela%20de%20Pamplona%20(Navarra)”,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/persona-corre-nieve-ciudadela-pamplona-navarra/4/”,”via”:”rtve”}},{“imageFull”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/nieve-bloqueado-calles-talamanca-jarama-comunidad-madrid/1610290211845.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290211845.jpg”},”imageMin”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/nieve-bloqueado-calles-talamanca-jarama-comunidad-madrid/1610290211845.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290211845.jpg”},”description”:”

La nieve ha bloqueado las calles de Talamanca de Jarama, en la Comunidad de Madrid.

n”,”imgRatio”:1.5809248554913296,”seo”:”nieve-bloqueado-calles-talamanca-jarama-comunidad-madrid”,”alt”:”La nieve ha bloqueado las calles de Talamanca de Jarama, en la Comunidad de Madrid”,”title”:”La nieve ha bloqueado las calles de Talamanca de Jarama, en la Comunidad de Madrid”,”sign”:”EFE/J.J. Guillen”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/nieve-bloqueado-calles-talamanca-jarama-comunidad-madrid/5/”,”stats”:{“title”:”La nieve ha bloqueado las calles de Talamanca de Jarama, en la Comunidad de Madrid”,”encodedTitle”:”La%20nieve%20ha%20bloqueado%20las%20calles%20de%20Talamanca%20de%20Jarama%2C%20en%20la%20Comunidad%20de%20Madrid”,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/nieve-bloqueado-calles-talamanca-jarama-comunidad-madrid/5/”,”via”:”rtve”}},{“imageFull”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/varias-personas-limpian-nieve-acceso-estacion-metro-madrid/1610290211134.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290211134.jpg”},”imageMin”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/varias-personas-limpian-nieve-acceso-estacion-metro-madrid/1610290211134.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290211134.jpg”},”description”:”

Varias personas limpian la nieve en el acceso a una estación de metro en Madrid. EFE/ Ballesteros

n”,”imgRatio”:1.5026737967914439,”seo”:”varias-personas-limpian-nieve-acceso-estacion-metro-madrid”,”alt”:”Varias personas limpian la nieve en el acceso a una estación de metro en Madrid. “,”title”:”Varias personas limpian la nieve en el acceso a una estación de metro en Madrid.”,”sign”:”EFE/ Ballesteros”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/varias-personas-limpian-nieve-acceso-estacion-metro-madrid/6/”,”stats”:{“title”:”Varias personas limpian la nieve en el acceso a una estación de metro en Madrid.”,”encodedTitle”:”Varias%20personas%20limpian%20la%20nieve%20en%20el%20acceso%20a%20una%20estaci%C3%B3n%20de%20metro%20en%20Madrid.”,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/varias-personas-limpian-nieve-acceso-estacion-metro-madrid/6/”,”via”:”rtve”}},{“imageFull”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/vista-del-rio-manzanarares-puente-segovia-madrid/1610290211205.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290211205.jpg”},”imageMin”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/vista-del-rio-manzanarares-puente-segovia-madrid/1610290211205.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290211205.jpg”},”description”:”

Vista del río Manzanarares y el puente de Segovia en Madrid. EFE/ Ricardo Ruiz

n”,”imgRatio”:1.778181818181818,”seo”:”vista-del-rio-manzanarares-puente-segovia-madrid”,”alt”:”Vista del río Manzanarares y el puente de Segovia en Madrid.”,”title”:”Vista del río Manzanarares y el puente de Segovia en Madrid”,”sign”:”EFE/ Ricardo Ruiz”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/vista-del-rio-manzanarares-puente-segovia-madrid/7/”,”stats”:{“title”:”Vista del río Manzanarares y el puente de Segovia en Madrid”,”encodedTitle”:”Vista%20del%20r%C3%ADo%20Manzanarares%20y%20el%20puente%20de%20Segovia%20en%20Madrid”,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/vista-del-rio-manzanarares-puente-segovia-madrid/7/”,”via”:”rtve”}},{“imageFull”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/autobuses-coches-abandonados-30/1610290212018.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290212018.jpg”},”imageMin”:{“url”:”https://img2.rtve.es/imagenes/autobuses-coches-abandonados-30/1610290212018.jpg”,”orientation”:”horizontal”,”file”:”1610290212018.jpg”},”description”:”

Varias personas caminan junto a un autobús atrapado por la nieve en la Avenida Pablo Iglesias en Madrid. 

n”,”imgRatio”:1.5026737967914439,”seo”:”autobuses-coches-abandonados-30″,”alt”:”Autobuses y coches abandonados en la M-30″,”title”:”Autobuses y coches abandonados en la M-30″,”sign”:”EFE/Ballesteros”,”source”:”EFE”,”date”:”10.01.2021″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/autobuses-coches-abandonados-30/8/”,”stats”:{“title”:”Autobuses y coches abandonados en la M-30″,”encodedTitle”:”Autobuses%20y%20coches%20abandonados%20en%20la%20M-30″,”url”:”https://www.rtve.es/fotogalerias/efectos-del-temporal-filomena-espana/212975/autobuses-coches-abandonados-30/8/”,”via”:”rtve”}}]” data-img_server=”https://img2.rtve.es”>

    Trees and Christmas lighting have not withstood the weight of snow in Madrid

    Trees and Christmas lighting have not withstood the weight of the snow in Madrid.

    EFE

    Several cars remain buried under the snow on Gerardo Lobo street in Toledo

    Several cars remain buried under the snow on Gerardo Lobo street in Toledo.

    EFE

January was also the month in which the thermal oscillation in Spain between the coldest day and the hottest reached 55 ° C, according to the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET). Justine, the fifth high-impact storm, arrived with record temperatures of heat, such as 26 ° C in Valencia. This reflection of climate change became even more visible in March, with the definitive closure of the Navacerrada ski resort.

The thaw of the Arctic opens a new route between Asia and Europe

Temperature variation could also be observed in Turkey, with maximums of 32 ° C on the Black Sea coast. “Globally, we are seeing more extremes, not just in Spain,” explained meteorologist Scott Duncan. In fact, a Russian ship was able to go to China, through the Arctic, by a new sea route caused by the thaw. According to Vizcaíno, the culprit is greenhouse gas concentration, which has weakened natural regulators.

May: when the world’s largest iceberg broke off

May 19, the current largest iceberg in the world, of about 4,320 km², broke off northwest of Antarctica. That same month, a group of scientists set the year 2060 as the limit to stop global warming, when “no human intervention” could stop the rise of the sea to 21 centimeters.

It was also revealed that the Brazilian Amazon lost 580.55 kilometers of jungle in April, a new record for the month, noted the National Institute for Space Research. But there was a positive note in May: Congress definitively approved the first Climate Change Law.

This standard determines objectives such as that Spain must achieve climate neutrality by 2050. However, experts say it was 10 years late. “Although it has some interesting measures, it is very little ambitious,” says Vizcaíno. It also does not convince Javier Andaluz, head of climate and energy at Ecologistas en Acción, who considers that “it is clearly insufficient to face the climate emergency.”

Fires, record temperatures and floods: Summer 2021

In August, a new report from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change, warned that extreme phenomena such as heat waves, fires, or floods not to be reduced CO₂ emissions. Precisely these three things marked the summer.

Canada opened July with temperatures of until 49,6 °C. There, in the small town of Lytton, a forest fire consumed 90% of the population in minutes. In the US, the California ‘Dixie’ fire devastated nearly a million hectares and is the largest recorded in the state’s history. Weeks later extreme weather reached the Mediterranean: Sicily reached 48.8 ° C and Tunisia 50.2 ° C.

From Spain to Greece and Turkey, passing through France, Portugal, Algeria or Italy, forest fires scorched southern Europe and North Africa. According to DatosRTVE, the fire consumed more than double the average of the hectares that were burned in Europe in the same period from 2008 to 2020. The flames left the worst fire in the last 40 years in Castilla y León and large outbreaks in Ribas de Sil (Lugo) and Estepona (Málaga), a so-called “sixth generation” fire.

The sixth generation firesThe most recent and destructive are those capable of producing the dreaded pyrocumulus. In the one in Sierra Bermeja, the first in Spain, a firefighter lost his life. “There is not enough humidity in the environment for the ecosystems themselves to fight against high temperatures,” explains Vizcaíno. These fires are more difficult to manage with the addition of “a more fire-friendly climate”.

A rise of only half a degree means multiplying the impacts by two

Although July was the hottest ever on record, the Central European floods, that left more than 200 dead in Germany and Belgium. This intensity, according to the World Weather Attribution (WWA), was due to the increase in global temperature. “A rise of only half a degree means multiplying the impacts by two,” adds Andaluz.

The agony of the Mar Menor at the hands of the human being

Several tons of dead fish covered the beaches of the Mar Menor at the end of August, worrying neighbors and tourists. The catastrophe brought to light the vulnerability of the lagoon, endangered for decades by human activities such as intensive metal mining and the urban explosion and tourism.

But it was the decades of intensive irrigated crops, together with the increase in temperature, The drop that filled the glass. As DataRTVE collects, each hectare of the Mar Menor receives nutrients (nitrates) from four hectares of these irrigated areas.

That August, before the agony of the Mar Menor and while almost all of Spain was at risk of fires due to the heat wave that brought 46.9 ° C at the Córdoba airport, the IPCC concluded that human beings it has had an “undeniable” role in climate change.

Alerts for drought and historical floods at the end of the year

The hydrological year, which in Spain starts in October and runs until September, began with hardly any rain. All river basins were below the mean values in the first three weeks.

The standardized precipitation index (SPI) indicated deficit since spring 2021 in the South, Ebro and Eastern Pyrenees basins. In November, the president of the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation (CHG), Joaquín Páez, declared the “exceptional situation due to extraordinary drought” in 80% of this basin, at 26.1% of its capacity.

“Andalusia is very prone to this phenomenon”, the vice president of the Andalusian College of Environmental Scientists, Abilio Caetano, recognizes the effect of climate change on hybrid scarcity and stresses that drought has been a problem for the last 40 years. “Every time they are going to be more frequent and more intense”, aim. But it does not exclusively affect the south of the country, suggests Greenpeace: more than 75% of the surface is in desertification risk.

Northern Spain recounts damage after floods

At the other extreme, the intense rains from squall Barra caused historical floods early december. Rioja, Aragon, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country were declared severely affected areas and the Arga River registered the highest flood in the last two decades in Pamplona. “Climate change does not only bring drought, but also involves the variation of the weather,” says Caetano in this regard.

Glasgow, goodbye to single-use plastics and other advances

One of the most anticipated encounters was the Glasgow Climate Summit. In the framework of these meetings, the US and the EU promoted a pact to cut methane emissions by 30% and 31 countries pledged to ban the manufacture of combustion cars. But these are voluntary agreements, as Andaluz recalls, and therefore they do not convince scientists.

2021 is the year of retardism

“Although there has been talk of more tangible goals, it has been disappointing,” notes Caetano. The Vizcaíno environmentalologist also warns of this, for whom “2021 is the year of retardism “. “We know what measures we should take, but we are postponing them,” he justifies. For the professional, the current production model of renewable energies in Spain, which uses macro-power plants, supposes, for example, a “strong environmental impact”.

In spite of everything, Vizcaíno calls for positivity: “You have to hope that strong measures will be taken.” In fact, there have already been advances such as the ban on single-use plastics in the European Union, the refusal to finance new coal-fired power plant projects and the commitment of international airlines to achieve zero emissions.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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