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Evolution and frequency (1970-2007) of combined temperature - precipitation modes in the Spanish mountains and sensitivity of snow cover.

Journal: Regional Environmental Change
Year: 2013   Volume: 134
Initial page: 873   Last page: 885
Status: Published
In this status since: 9 Dec 2012
PDF file: 2012_Moran_Snowpack_online.pdf
DOI: 10.1007/s10113-012-0380-8
Authors:
Morán-Tejeda, E., , López-Moreno, J.I., Revuelto, J., Lehmann, A., Beniston, M.

Snow cover in Spanish mountains is crucial for ensuring water availability in spring and summer months, for the success of winter tourism or for the maintenance of biodiversity in mountain ecosystems. A changing climate may affect the volume of snow cover even in high mountains, where weather conditions are usually favorable for snow accumulation. In this paper, we aim to investigate the evolution (1970–2007) of combined precipitation–temperature modes in the Spanish mountains, and the sensitivity of the snowpack to their occurrence. The climatic database Spain02 and snow thickness data for Spanish mountains were used for this purpose. Results showed that the frequency of dry-warm and wet-warm days has increased over time in all mountain ranges, while the frequency of the cold modes has decreased. The thickness of the snowpack in the Pyrenees has also decreased and its evolution is negatively correlated with the frequency of dry-warm days, and positively correlated with the frequency of dry-cold and wet-cold days. This work constitutes the first approach that relates the evolution of climatic conditions favorable or unfavorable for snow accumulation and the evolution of the snowpack in Spanish mountains.