As others here have mentioned, these temperatures are unusually low for January in this region of Spain. They are the kinds of temperatures one would have seen in January during the "Little Ice Age" between the 15th and 19th centuries.[a][b][c]
Let's hope this unusual drop in temperature is just a "one-off" rare climate event, and not a portend of things to come.
Central Spain is quite cold. For example, when the International Brigades came to fight in the Civil War they were expecting a mild Winter, but they were shocked by pretty extreme temperatures. Luckily, everyone got prepared as next few years were even worse. In 1937, Teruel Battle was consistently fought below -20 C.
Aside from 1937, 1956 and 1971 saw pretty intense snowstorms. The 1971 one was much worse than the current storm according to the data I've seen.
I have the newspaper clipping of my grandmother being rescued from her home via dinghy by city rescue workers. Everyone I knew had their house ruined in hours after weeks of shoveling sandbags fruitlessly in front of the neighborhoods and homes.
And that was just the flood damage and personal effect , itself.
Untold amounts of environmental and biological damage occurred when sea-levels were temporarily higher than any of the sanitation and oil-recollection facilities that were in town.
That said , snow sucks, but i'd rather sweep it off my roof and winterize my plumbing than attempting to figure out the physics behind flood-proofing acres of land (almost always fruitlessly) and having to surf in sewage for years past the event.
> i'd rather sweep it off my roof
Any significant amount of snow in LA would crush every single one of those beautiful flat modernist roofs. Snow load is no joke.
/Spent an hour shoveling snow today
Except when it all melts in spring all at once and the river(s) flood their surroundings. The ones that stupid (or corrupt or both) city planners and developers have been building on for years now. Flood plains? What's that? Oh you mean all that nice river front property that would sell for really great prices?
The bridge I used to take to work (before covid) is also affected by this. Both in the sense that the only other bridge to take from here was getting closed due to the rivers water level, meaning traffic doubled overnight and in the sense that we were mere inches away from that bridge also having to close.
That is one of the curious things about Colorado--creeks that are about shin deep 11 months of the year, bank full for a few days, and then subside back to shin deep.
But guess what? It isn't just in snow country that people love to build in flood plains. Have a look at Houston.
The Maritimes especially gets all sort of weather.
EDIT: Seems like it’s a “La niña” Winter...
The issue is that this is caused by the collapse of standard weather systems.
This isn't a sign of an ice age, it's the sign of instability.
I don’t know how climate change will affect this. But we might be in for an interesting few years.
It wasn’t a Maunder Minimum.
For the next 4 years or so we’ll proceed to maximum then back down to the next minimum thereafter.
The fact that snowplows are nowhere to be seen and streets continue to be in such a poor state suggests to me that not only we are completely ill-equipped for this situation (which is normal), but that the situation is overwhelming and the few resources we do have are spread thinly across the country.
That’s just silly. Almost every garbage truck in Chicago has the equipment to allow a plow to be attached to it. They can nearly double their fleet of plows for big storms, which are pretty rare.
There was a unexpected blizzard in 1979 right before the mayoral election and the mayor lost because the city didn’t plow the streets fast enough. Ever since then, Chicago has always had more snow plows than needed. Even political cronies go out and shovel sidewalks because they are so afraid of losing due to snow.
From the article:
> The temperature plunged to -25C (-13F) in Molina de Aragón and Teruel, in mountains east of Madrid
> Elevation 1,065 m (3,494 ft)
> Elevation 915 m (3,002 ft)
I’m assuming your expectation was different. If so I’d be be curious as to how you did interpret it?
My interpretation is that the very, very woke BBC staff picked what seems like extreme temps from a mountain region and then technically correctly wrote that "Central Spain" "records temperatures of -25C". That is all.
Do note: I'm not a climate change denier. I just hate crap like this, with a passion. I don't think we should have to abandon facts in this particular fight.
It seems like a bunch of people here think we should. That's very scary and destructive, IMO.
The average low is around -3.5c for January.
You might be giving the BBC an overly hard time here. This does appear to be a significant (1 in 20 year) deviation.
They reported a min temperature of -25C, noted it is in an area known as "spanish siberia" (e.g. somewhere that expects cold weather) then note that it was unusually cold even for there, the coldest in 'at least 20 years'.
They also reported -16C in Madrid itself, and the struggles that hospitals were having with a combination of COVID impact and a large number of additional fracture cases from falling on ice.
None of this seem particularly sensationalized, misleading (intentionally or otherwise), or whatever you mean by "woke".
Without that headline, this post wouldn't have been made it here.
All that said though, it’s interesting to hear others’ points of view and the thanks for replying was genuinely meant.
They are technically correct, which is the best kind of correct. You're mad that their reporting is factually correct?
Checking https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meseta_Central , I was almost correct. With an area of 200000 km^2 (from german Wikipedia) it is even larger than I expected.
-25C is thus certainly newsworthy and, well, that's in central Spain, which is elevated, but "central Spain" does not imply that it isn't and Spanish geography is what it is. This is not misleading.
Plus, it is not that unusual. It happened 18 years ago already.
Most places in Spain have and need heating, apart from a few coastal enclaves in the south. Spain is the 5th largest user of energy for residential heating in the EU, behind Germany, France, Italy, and Poland.
I did a quick search for more objective observations and what I found was:
Homes labelled A, B and C account for less than 10% of the housing stock. […] Most of households in the sample (52%) are E rated. F and G rated residences account for almost 25% of the sample. 
In Spain, buildings are currently responsible for 31% of energy consumption. […] the classification A - the highest - involves spending up to 10 times less than the G - the lowest -. Currently, in Spain most buildings have an E, F or G rating.
 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030142151... (4. Results and discussion)
All the cities in central Spain are collapsed by the ice and snow (including the capital), there are no public transportation, emergencies services can barely make it into affected zones, a lot of people don't have water supply because of frozen pipes (including myself), trucks with food and supplies are still stuck and cannot enter in the city...
This chaos is of course because we are not prepared for this extreme cold weather, and we are not prepared because this is VERY unusual.
Let's say this is the same unusual as in the covid-19 pandemic,nobody would have imagined it a year ago.
My house of made of Insulated Concrete Forms and has an amazing r value. A hot fire in the wood stove can quickly heat the whole place up to 22C, even when it's -20 outside.
It can snow 50cm over a 12hr period, though, and that's always fun to deal with. I've gotten badly stuck in my own driveway twice this year (it's 40 feet long & annoying to clear), and both times the snowblower conked out and I had to take the thing apart and fix it before I was able to go into town to get groceries. Clearing the driveway with a shovel is simply not possible unless you plan to spend an entire day doing it.
Anyhoo, all this to say is - dealing with that kind of weather requires some preparation, and I can see how it would cause mayhem in a place where that's unusual. Hopefully when air travel becomes abundant again I can travel to Spain to enjoy its warmth :-P
But this time, the whole city was completely covered in snow, all of it. Cars abandoned in the middle of the street, people skying in the main avenues, it was crazy, no one I know has ever seen this here so if it has ever happened, it must been at least 80 years ago.
Compared to most of the world Canada is pretty much like living in the arctic. :) Even Americans dont want to live in the top half of the USA any more.
I grew up in the Okanagan, where temps range from -20°C to 40°C. Many houses there couldn't deal with either extreme well.
Even in Vancouver, -16 would freeze some pipes and kill some people. Not as bad as Madrid, but we are more accustomed to it here.
One of the major concerns of climate change is that may disrupt the gulf stream which would be disastrous for the UK. Their ecosystem depends heavily on the fact that water from the gulf of mexico keeps them unusually warm.
> Spain's coldest night for at least 20 years
Weather and the high cost of living in all the major Canadian cities (compared to the average tech income) were the two main reasons wife and I decided to move down South. Don't regret it for a moment.
Some Chinese investor needing a safe heaven for their assets (and/or, in case some purge happens like with Jack Ma, for their family) that can't be seized at random by the CCP does not care at all about the weather, only about the country showing a spine to China. That is why the real estate market of Canada is so thoroughly messed up - a third of Vancouver's market, for example, was Chinese (https://www.fortunebuilders.com/one-third-of-vancouvers-real...).
Canada can get quite cold, but Vancouver is actually relatively moderate and is borderline Mediterranean due to its west coast location. Beijing gets both much colder and much hotter on a regular basis.
Also, air quality in Vancouver is significantly better than in Beijing, which would have more impact on living conditions than just climate by itself.
Yes, where I'm originally from in central Alberta, it gets cold as hell. But most of the population of Ontario (the most populous province) lives significantly south of the 49th parallel, on the same latitude as much of Oregon. Further south than Vermont, Maine, or New Hampshire, and due to weather patterns this side of the lake is actually a tad warmer on average than the south side in central NY.
TDLR: Most of Canada isn't as cold as the stereotypes. Lots of Americans live in colder areas.
No... not hot water to melt the ice and then have it freeze again.
Also, don't pour cold water on the windshield on a hot summer day, especially if the car is oven-hot and you don't want to be toasted alive inside, because... well...
But this weekend temperatures are going to drop to -10 to -15.
He's a wonky guy and kinda bent on the solar minimum but if you can see past that, his list does a good job of reporting on cold extremes across the world.
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
"You can go to Puerto de Navacerrada for a few hours of skiing then return to Madrid to continue visiting the many attractions in Europe’s fourth-largest city."
In Madrid (region), at less than an hour driving, we have a Sierra where we used to have 3 skiing stations. Now we only have 2 (Navacerrada and Valdesquí) because Cotos had to close. And snow melts more quickly. My father always boasts that he once skied in the Madrid Sierra on May 15th, and with current climate that's difficult to believe. But I've seen how the skiing season gets shorter year after year. 15 years ago everybody made plans for going skiing to the Pyrenees on the Inmaculada holiday (early November), and currently all bets are off even for the Constitution holiday (early December).
If you were right, we should see at least "some" sort of trend, but at least in this official graphics, I just do not see it:
If the temperature was to drop to below -10°C I'm not sure what I would do. I'd try to buy a better heater, but so would half the city so that might be a problem.
Madrid tends to have more extreme weather than here though, I suspect because the ocean offers us a certain thermal inertia.
While it may be hard to speculate short and long term regional changes, does anyone have a recommendations for interactive tools to explore, say, monthly temperatures for a given area for the past however many years?
A single night of record breaking low temperatures doesn't mean much. 24 years ago today, it was -18°C in my little corner of the world, the next night it was more than 12°C warmer already.
Freak weather extremes will increase in both intensity and frequency, but doomsday predictions usually don't hold much water as we know too little about the system as a whole and the feedback mechanisms involved.
Is there really data to back this up?
It's been pretty chaotic, since we're not used to snow at all. After 4 days roads are still unusable, supermarkets can't restock shelves...The city's pretty much stopped.
I don't know about the temperatures in the all of Spain or where the main olive orchards are but that has the potential for being devastating for growers.
The debates are over and we are already living with the consequences of burning up so much fossil fuel. But your snark is, uh, really funny! Ha ha!
or anything else you get when you search "global warming colder winters"
Climate is more or less the average weather over time. Think about it this way:
Let's pretend (and for the sake of simplifying the problem), we have a tiny planet with only two equally sized places, A and B. And here's the (year 1) seasonal temperatures for each: (winter/spring/summer/autumn)
A: 10, 20, 30, 20
B: 15, 25, 35, 25
The global average temperature (if you average all the numbers) is: 22.5
Now, let's say in year 2, the numbers change to this:
A: 8, 22, 30, 20
B: 12, 28, 35, 27
Now the global average temperature has increased by a 0.25 degree to 22.75. But all of these things are also true:
1. A didn't get any warmer during the summer in year 2 than it did in year 1.
2. Both places got colder during the winter.
3. B only got 2 degrees warmer than last year.
4. The largest temperature fluctuation is 60% more extreme in year 1 than in year 2.
Now, expand this example to the thousands of places that we measure weather on earth and you can see why the weather in one location would contribute statistically very little to the overall climate.
X is just whatever I want.
The problem with climate change deniers is that they refuse everything so you have to actually explain everything from scratch time and time again. That's part of the strategy. Look for tiny mistakes and then deny the whole thing.
Clarifying that one is talking about anthropogenic climate change instead of just "regular" climate change is a pretty good example. Ultimately the difference is meaningless because non anthropogenic climate change is insignificant on human time scales. Give me 500 years to prepare and I won't care. Give me 50 years and I will always fail.
The worst part is that I don't even see any long term benefits to denying climate change. Even if it was completely fictional I still don't see any reason to not adopt technologies that would ultimately reduce the impact of climate change. Coal is a dying industry because of the economics. Oil is too precious to burn in cars (planes and ships are good use cases though). There is a general lack of investments to put central bank money into.
Oh, did I just say "climate change denier"? I obviously mean "climate change skeptics". (I am awaiting a response that skeptic is also wrong)
> The worst part is that I don't even see any long term benefits to denying climate change.
It's a sad state of affairs.