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Portugal’s July temperatures “close to normal”; 97% of country in drought – IPMA

July was the hottest month globally, but temperatures in Portugal were close to normal. The ‘bad news’ however is that the amount of land affected by drought increased to 97%.

This information has been confirmed by national meteorological institute IPMA, in its climate bulletin for July – according to which on July 31, almost the entire country was in meteorological drought, while 34% was in the severe or extreme drought (especially in the Alentejo and Algarve regions).

Last week, the European Copernicus service was reporting that July was the hottest month “ever recorded on Earth, marked by heat waves and fires around the world” – leading outsiders to look erroneously at Portugal in this context.

Even with the wildfires that took place in the last week or so, the burnt area of forestry this year in Portugal is markedly down on years in the recent past.

And while several regions in the northern hemisphere, particularly in southern Europe, suffered heat waves of high intensity and extension, with very high air temperatures, the Portuguese mainland did not.

Says Lusa, the mainland had “normal temperatures for the season, without heat waves, due to the so-called Azores anticyclone, which caused the entry of more humid and cooler maritime air from the north (the nortada)”.

This usual situation “also prevented rain, so July was very dry in terms of precipitation. The average temperature was slightly above normal (+0.34ºC), the minimum -0.23 ºC below normal, and the maximum +0.90ºC above normal.

July was the fifth driest July in Portugal since 2000″ and the percentage of water in the soil decreased throughout the entire country, being more significant in the regions of the Northeast Trás-os-Montes, Tejo Valley, Alentejo and Algarve.

“These regions have water content in the soil below 10%, and in many places the water content in the soil is at the level (known as) permanent wilting point”, warns IPMA, which in a more short-term outlook has said temperatures this week will be dropping, but the risk of wildfires will remain very high.

Source: LUSA