Climate Change Media

The Rain in Spain Today

The Times newspaper confuses the present with the future in an otherwise useful article today :-

“April 3, 2009 : Global warming forecast says Spain will run dry : Graham Keeley in Barcelona : The rain in Spain no longer falls mainly in the plain. Global warming could cause rainfall in the Iberian peninsula to fall by up to 40 per cent by the end of the century, according to a European Commission report. Spain and Portugal could be the hardest hit by climate change, according to the commission white paper, which predicts that food harvests could fall 30 per cent in the region because of a lack of water…”

All in all, there’s a count of six uses of the word “could”, and the only use of the word “will” is when reporting the opinion of the report the article is based on.

The only use of the present tense is confined to a single pun : “The rain in Spain no longer falls mainly in the plain.”

Talk about hedging your bets. Don’t they believe what they’re reading ?

The situation as it stands today is already cause for great concern. There has been mounting evidence that Climate Change has already taken hold in Spain, and that fresh water supplies are stressed.

The implications for the British way of life include an end to the imports of salad vegetables year-round, and the return to the United Kingdom of those people who retired to Spain, because there is no longer the water supplies to support their lifestyles.

Here are some examples of reports of how Spain is being affected by Climate Change. I find the diagrams with the account of the reduction of rainfall in Madrid to be the most significant :-

“The cereal harvest in Spain is expected to fall by 15% this year and across the EU as a whole by 8% as the welcome rainfall still fails to compensate for a cut back in the land area given to crops. It’s according to latest fugures from the community cereals organisation Cocereal.”

“2008 AMONG 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD, UN REPORTS : New York, Dec 18 2008 11:00AM : Prolonged drought hit most parts of the southeast of North America at the end of July and hindered efforts to contain numerous large wildfires in California, while southern British Columbia in Canada experienced its fifth driest period in 61 years. In Europe, Portugal and Spain had their worst drought winter in decades, while in South America, a large part of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay an intense drought which caused severe damage to agriculture.”

“Climate Change and Wine, Barcelona 15 February 2008 : Rain in Spain no longer on the plain : …At a time when “the maximum number of consecutive days without rain has now moved from 50 to 60,” ironically parts of Spain witnessed dramatic storms in August and October 2007 causing drastic flooding. “According to flood predictions, Bordeaux’s vineyards, for example, will be under water if the sea rises by 1.5 metres,” Campo added.”

“Africa: What is the Global Water Crisis About? : 30 March 2009 : Ama Kudom-Agyemang writes…But the problem is not confined to the developing world. In the United States, 400 million cubic meters of groundwater is being removed annually in Arizona, about double the amount being replaced by recharge from rainfall. In Spain, more than half of the nearly 100 underground reservoirs or aquifers are over-exploited…Another aspect of the water crisis is climate change which affects water availability in two ways: first, as temperatures increase, crops consume more water, and, second, changes in precipitation patterns in many areas will lead to a net decline in rainfall. Both of these changes translate into less runoff and thus less water availability over time. In addition, climate variability creates extreme weather patterns that lead to droughts and floods.”

“Glaciers disappearing from Spanish Pyrenees : Submitted by Mohit Joshi on Tue, 02/24/2009 – 10:03 : Madrid – The glaciers on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees mountains straddling Spain and France are set to melt completely by mid-century, the daily El Pais on Tuesday quoted an Environment Ministry report as saying. The glaciers covering parts of the Spanish Pyrenees have lost 88 per cent of their surface since 1894, down to 206 hectares in 2008, according to the report. The glaciers are now retreating faster than before, losing 25 per cent of their surface between 2002 and 2008.”

“2008 : En el mes de marzo, presentamos un estudio realizado por nosotros mismos sobre el impacto del cambio climático en la zona centro de España. Os puedo ofrecer los resultados más destacados. Encontramos por ejemplo, que en Valladolid la temperatura media ha subido 0.8ºC durante el siglo XX y 0.7ºC en Madrid. En cuanto a las precipitaciones medias, observamos un descenso superior al 10% en la región de Madrid desde los años 40. La noticia salió en varias agencias de prensa, en la radio pública y en periódicos locales.”

And for some of the data in chart form :-

“Marzo, 2008 : LA REALIDAD DEL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO EN ESPAÑA Y SUS PRINCIPALES IMPACTOS ECOLÓGICOS Y SOCIOECONÓMICOS : El Cambio Climático por aumento del efecto invernadero, tratado habitualmente como una posibilidad seria por estar científicamente fundada, pero necesitada aun de elementos suficientes de confirmación (Balairón, 2000; IPCC, 2001), de acuerdo con lo que se deduce del análisis de los datos actualmente disponibles, parece haber comenzado ya en España. Los elementos que configuran esta realidad, obtenida del análisis de los datos de 38 observatorios meteorológicos de la red principal distribuidos por toda la España Peninsular (Instituto Nacional de Meteorología, 2002), una vez excluidos los afectados por perturbaciones como la “isla de calor” de las grandes ciudades, y los carentes de un número suficiente de datos, son los siguientes. a) Subida media de la Temperatura media anual en la España Peninsular en el periodo 1971-2000: 1,53 ºC. La temperatura ha subido en 36 de los 38 observatorios analizados de forma estadísticamente significativa al 95 %… b) Precipitación anual: sin cambios o a la baja mayoritariamente donde hay tendencia estadísticamente significativa. Un análisis de los datos del Instituto Nacional de Meteorología para la media de precipitación en España en el periodo 1947-1999, indica que no se observa aun una tendencia estadísticamente significativa; sin embargo, la tendencia de la precipitación estacional en invierno, componente principal de la anual en gran parte del país, y principal fuente de generación de recursos hídricos, indica una clara tendencia decreciente, estadísticamente significativa al 95%. Por tanto, El descenso de la lluvia previsto en los modelos parece haber comenzado.”

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