Covariability of seasonal temperature and precipitation over the Iberian Peninsula in high-resolution regional climate simulations (1001–2099)

Año Publicación:  2017
Responsable: S. Fernández-Montes et al.
Journal, Volumen y páginas:
Global and Planetary Change, 151, 122–133


S. Fernández-Montes, J. J. Gómez-Navarro, F. Sánchez-Rodrigo, J. A. García-Valero & J. P. Montávez


Precipitation and surface temperature are interdependent variables, both as a response to atmospheric dynamics and due to intrinsic thermodynamic relationships and feedbacks between them. This study analyzes the covariability of seasonal temperature (T) and precipitation (P) across the Iberian Peninsula (IP) using regional climate paleosimulations for the period 1001–1990, driven by reconstructions of external forcings. Future climate (1990–2099) was simulated according to SRES scenarios A2 and B2. These simulations enable exploring, at high spatial resolution, robust and physically consistent relationships.

In winter, positive P-T correlations dominate west-central IP (Pearson correlation coefficient ρ = + 0.43, for 1001–1990), due to prevalent cold-dry and warm-wet conditions, while this relationship weakens and become negative towards mountainous, northern and eastern regions. In autumn, negative correlations appear in similar regions as in winter, whereas for summer they extend also to the N/NW of the IP. In spring, the whole IP depicts significant negative correlations, strongest for eastern regions (ρ = − 0.51). This is due to prevalent frequency of warm-dry and cold-wet modes in these regions and seasons. At the temporal scale, regional correlation series between seasonal anomalies of temperature and precipitation (assessed in 31 years running windows in 1001–1990) show very large multidecadal variability. For winter and spring, periodicities of about 50–60 years arise. The frequency of warm-dry and cold-wet modes appears correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), explaining mainly co-variability changes in spring. For winter and some regions in autumn, maximum and minimum P-T correlations appear in periods with enhanced meridional or easterly circulation (low or high pressure anomalies in the Mediterranean and Europe). In spring and summer, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation shows some fingerprint on the frequency of warm/cold modes.

For future scenarios, an intensification of the negative P-T relationship is generally found, as a result of an increased frequency of the warm-dry mode.

Keywords: Iberian Peninsula, Precipitation-temperature covariability, Mediterranean climate, Multidecadal variability, Seasonal changes

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