Heat record and polarization
Spain has never experienced a spring like this
06/07/2023, 3:15 p.m
In the spring, Spain is hit by a heatwave unprecedented since records began. The temperatures are sometimes 20 degrees above the usual values. Meanwhile, meteorologists are being threatened by climate change deniers and conspiracy theorists.
Spain has experienced the hottest spring since weather records began this year. The national weather agency said the average temperature was two degrees above normal. At the end of April in particular, Spain was confronted with an unusual heat wave, with temperatures sometimes reaching almost 40 degrees Celsius – 20 degrees above the usual values for this time of year. “Spring 2023 was the hottest spring on record in Spain,” the weather bureau said. In the three spring months, the thermometer climbed to an average of 14.2 degrees. This was 0.3 degrees more than in the previous record year 1997.
A heat wave also hit China recently. The hottest May day in over 100 years was recorded in Shanghai. Other regions of the world have also struggled with unusually high temperatures. The United Nations recently stated that the years 2023 to 2027 are very likely to be the hottest five years on record. “There is a 98 percent chance that at least one of the next five years, as well as the entire five-year period, will be the warmest on record,” the World Meteorological Organization said.
Climate change deniers attack researchers
In Spain, the stress caused by the heat for nature and people also had other unsightly side effects. “The coronavirus is no longer an issue. Conspiracy theorists and deniers who used to talk about it are now spreading false information about climate change,” says communications scientist Alexandre López-Borrull of the Open University of Catalonia. “Scientific institutions are seen as part of the establishment, so everything they say is questioned on social networks.” And as meteorologists provided facts that refute the claims of climate change deniers, the latter sought to discredit the weather experts.
Spain’s National Meteorological Office (AEMET) recently went public after its employees were threatened via Twitter messages, calls and emails. Among other things, they were insulted as murderers and criminals. “Would you like us to release your and your family’s contact information?” read a tweet to an AEMET employee.
López-Borrull sees a clear increase in climate change denial, especially among supporters of right-wing currents who see climate change as a left-wing issue and are against climate protection measures. “People distrust politicians, judges and the media,” says the communications scientist. “They feel alienated and so they come to listen to people they’ve never listened to before, whose messages go straight to the heart.”