Rainfall Components: Variability and Spatial Distribution in a Mediterranean Area (Valencia Region)

M. M. Millán Fundación CEAM, Valencia, Spain

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M. J. Estrela Fundación CEAM, Valencia, Spain

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J. Miró Fundación CEAM, Valencia, Spain

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Abstract

In the last half of the twentieth century, the precipitation regime on the Spanish east coast showed an overall pattern of reduction in precipitation totals. This work presents the results from a novel procedure to disaggregate the precipitation series in the Valencia region on the basis of their meteorological origin. Important differences are found between specific trends and changes in the contributions from 1) Atlantic frontal systems, 2) convective–orographic storms, and 3) easterly advections over the Mediterranean Sea (backdoor cold fronts). The series for the three components are then used to analyze the evolution, variability, and spatial distribution of the region’s rainfall and to determine the correlations with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. The results establish significant differences between inland areas, with a trend toward decreasing precipitation and thus increasing aridity, and coastal areas, with increasing precipitation that tends to be progressively more torrential in nature. Likewise, the correlations with the NAO index also change and show opposite signs for the different components.

Corresponding author address: Dr. M. M. Millán, Fundación CEAM, Parque Tecnológico, C/Charles R. Darwin, 14, 46980 Paterna (Valencia), Spain. Email: millan@ceam.es

Abstract

In the last half of the twentieth century, the precipitation regime on the Spanish east coast showed an overall pattern of reduction in precipitation totals. This work presents the results from a novel procedure to disaggregate the precipitation series in the Valencia region on the basis of their meteorological origin. Important differences are found between specific trends and changes in the contributions from 1) Atlantic frontal systems, 2) convective–orographic storms, and 3) easterly advections over the Mediterranean Sea (backdoor cold fronts). The series for the three components are then used to analyze the evolution, variability, and spatial distribution of the region’s rainfall and to determine the correlations with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. The results establish significant differences between inland areas, with a trend toward decreasing precipitation and thus increasing aridity, and coastal areas, with increasing precipitation that tends to be progressively more torrential in nature. Likewise, the correlations with the NAO index also change and show opposite signs for the different components.

Corresponding author address: Dr. M. M. Millán, Fundación CEAM, Parque Tecnológico, C/Charles R. Darwin, 14, 46980 Paterna (Valencia), Spain. Email: millan@ceam.es

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