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Iberian thermal lows in a changed climate

Hoinka, K.P. and Gaertner, M. and Castro, M. (2007) Iberian thermal lows in a changed climate. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 133, pp. 1113-1126. DOI: 10.1002/qj.78.

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Abstract

Recent results from enhanced greenhouse-gas scenarios over southern Europe suggest that climate change implies a summertime mean surface warming of up to 4 K over the Iberian Peninsula. It is suggested that thermal lows, the most prominent Iberian summer weather, will undergo significant modifications in a changed climate. This is studied in the present paper by determining statistical features of the Iberian thermal low, at first for today's climate using data provided by ERA-40 and by the regional climate model PROMES. In general the analysed and simulated climatic structures compare well. However, the ERA-40 data provide conditions more favourable for thermal lows than simulated with the model. Statistics in a changed climate are obtained by performing two 30-year model simulations for 1961-1990 and 2071-2100. It is found that thermal lows strengthen by decreasing the central Iberian surface pressure from 1012.2 to 1010.5 hPa and increasing its daily variation by about 7% in magnitude. Associated with this is an increase in the number of thermal low days by more than 60%. A second finding is an enhancement of the sea breezes over the Iberian westerly and easterly coasts and a particularly significant strengthening of the sea breeze between Cadiz and Huelva. The westerly flow over the Strait of Gibraltar, observed during thermal low events, decreases. The increase in occurrence of the thermal low is associated with a significant increase in the number of dry spells of longer period, and could involve considerable impact on desertification, water resources and wildfire hazards around the Mediterranean basin. The results suggest that there is some evidence that the subtropical character of the Mediterranean climate strengthens.

Document Type:Article
Title:Iberian thermal lows in a changed climate
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Hoinka, K.P.UNSPECIFIED
Gaertner, M.Univ. Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, E
Castro, M.Univ. Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, E
Date:2007
Journal or Publication Title:Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Volume:133
DOI:10.1002/qj.78
Page Range:pp. 1113-1126
Status:Published
Keywords:Hitzetief, Iberische Halbinsel, Klimaänderung, climate change, Iberian peninsula, ERA-40 data, thermal low
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Atmosphären- und Klimaforschung (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Cloud Physics and Traffic Meteorology
Deposited By: Jana Freund
Deposited On:07 Sep 2007
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 20:25

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