Articles | Volume 11, issue 6
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1715–1722, 2011

Special issue: The record of marine storminess along European coastlines

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1715–1722, 2011

Research article 17 Jun 2011

Research article | 17 Jun 2011

Reconstruction of Atlantic historical winter coastal storms in the Spanish coasts of the Gulf of Cadiz, 1929–2005

P. Ribera1, D. Gallego1, C. Pena-Ortiz1, L. Del Rio2, T. A. Plomaritis2, and J. Benavente2 P. Ribera et al.
  • 1Dept. Physical, Chemical and Natural Systems, University Pablo de Olavide. Ctra. Utrera, Km 1, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
  • 2Dept. Earth Sciences, CASEM, University of Cadiz. Av. República Saharaui s/n, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain

Abstract. This paper presents the reconstruction of a climatological series of winter coastal storms on the northern coasts of the Gulf of Cadiz. This series has been put together using information extracted from regional and local Spanish newspapers. It includes all the storms coming from the Atlantic sector that have been detected during the winter season, from October to March, between 1929 and 2005. In order to validate this historical storm series, it has been compared with storms series identified from quasi-observational data and using different wave heights as thresholds to decide what is to be considered as a coastal storm. Nearly 2.6 reports per year about coastal storms are published in the press which correspond to waves of 3.6 m high or more and to prevailing winds from a direction ranging between SSW and WNW. A long- term positive trend has been detected for the complete storm series. If only the instrumental period is analysed, no significant trend is detected. It is suggested that this difference might be associated with the impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation over the occurrence of storms in this area.