Articles | Volume 11, issue 3
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 971–980, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-11-971-2011

Special issue: Understanding dynamics and current developments of climate...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 971–980, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-11-971-2011

  25 Mar 2011

25 Mar 2011

North Atlantic atmospheric regimes and winter extremes in the Iberian peninsula

M. J. OrtizBeviá1, E. SánchezGómez2, and F. J. Alvarez-García1 M. J. OrtizBeviá et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
  • 2Climate Modelling and Global Change Group, CERFACS, CNRS, 31057 Toulouse cedex 01, France

Abstract. In this study, we assess the relationships between North Atlantic scale atmospheric regimes and extremes of precipitation and minimum temperature in the Iberian peninsula for an extended (DJFM) winter season. As found in previous studies, large scale atmospheric regimes are well represented in climate simulations while the extreme atmospheric variability is not. The relationship between some of these atmospheric regimes and the probability of occurrence of extreme values in simulations of present day climatic variability is validated here with daily observations at 68 meteorological stations all over the Iberian peninsula. Therefore, the possible changes in the probability of occurrence of winter extremes of minimum temperature and precipitation are obtained by projecting the changes in the probability of occurrence of the winter atmospheric regimes. The trends in the frequency of the observed large scale patterns give an indication of what can be expected in the next decades. For the long term (in a century), the changes are obtained directly from the comparison of the frequencies of the atmospheric regimes in the scenario simulations with those of the historical period. The projections obtained in this way are tested for consistency with the results obtained by comparing the changes in the extremes threshold values in the scenario with those of the historical simulations. The results point to a future with less precipitation extreme events and less minimum temperature extreme events in winter in the westerly central part of the Iberian peninsula.

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