The objective of this study was to analyze at the level of Spain’s 52 provinces province level the temporal evolution of minimum mortality temperatures (MMT) from 1983 to 2018, in order to determine whether the increase in MMT would be sufficient to compensate for the increase in environmental temperatures in Spain for the period. It also aimed to analyze whether the rate of evolution of MMT would be sufficient, were it to remain constant, to compensate for the predicted increase in temperatures in an unfavorable (RCP 8.5) emissions scenario for the time horizon 2051–2100.
The independent variable was made up of maximum daily temperature data (Tmax) for the summer months in the reference observatories of each province for the 1983–2018 period. The dependent variable was daily mortality rate due to natural causes (ICD 10: A00-R99). For each year and province, MMT was determined using a quadratic or cubic fit (p < 0.05). Based on the annual MMT values, a linear fit was carried out that allowed for determining the time evolution of MMT. These values were compared with the evolution of Tmax registered in each observatory during the 1983–2018 analyzed period and with the predicted values of Tmax obtained for an RCP8.5 scenario for the period 2051–2100.
The rate of global variance in Tmax in the summer months in Spain during the 1983–2018 period was 0.41 °C/decade, while MMT across the whole country increased at a rate of 0.64 °C/decade. Variations in the provinces were heterogeneous. For the 2051–2100 time horizon, there was predicted increase in Tmax values of 0.66 °C/decade, with marked geographical differences. Although at the global level it is possible to speak of adaptation, the heterogeneities among the provinces suggest that the local level measures are needed in order to facilitate adaptation in those areas where it is not occurring.