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2020, the hottest year in Catalonia since 1950

One degree more than average recorded in a rainy year with mean temperatures of 6C in Pyrenees and 18C in Barcelona

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13 January 2021 11:39 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

The year of Covid-19, 2020, was also the hottest year in Catalonia since 1950, according to an end-of-year report made by the Catalan weather service (SMC).

Almost all months of the year were warmer than usual, with February being significantly hotter than normal and October being one the coldest in decades.

None of the weather stations in the official XEMA network registered a lower mean temperature in 2020 than the average of 1961 to 1990, the period SMC uses as a reference to compare figures.

Most of the country recorded around one degree more than the 1961 to 1990 average, with the figure reaching 1.5C in a few locations in the east, and 2C more than normal in Barcelona – the weather service believes that it because of "the impact of the urban heat island" in the city, a heating effect on metropolitan areas caused by human activity.

The mean temperature in the Catalan capital was just over 18C, the highest value in the country, with the Pyrenees hitting the lowest annual average at almost 6C.

Not only was last year the hottest since the second half of the 20th century, but the two only weather stations in operation for more than 100 years also reflect unusual values since the 1900s.

The Ebre observatory registered its second hottest year since it was launched 116 years ago, while the Fabra observatory, in Barcelona, hit the top value in its 107 years.

Rainy year

The report also shows that 2020 has been a rainy year in most of the country, at 110% of the period of reference.

It was especially wet in the southwest and northeast, with values of over 150% of the average in the headwaters of the Muga river, in the coast, and also the Vallès, Maresme and Garrotxa counties. Yet, it was the Ports nature park, in the Ebre river region, where most rain was registered, 1,922.9 mm.

On the other hand, in Seròs, in the Segrià county, only 419 mm rain was recorded, the lowest in the whole of Catalonia.

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  • Graph with the year-to-year anomaly in temperatures compared to the 1981-2010 average, with those above mean in red, and those below, in blue (by SMC)

  • Graph with the year-to-year anomaly in temperatures compared to the 1981-2010 average, with those above mean in red, and those below, in blue (by SMC)

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