Large areas in the Spanish Pyrenees are covered by snow between December and April, especially above 1650 m a.s.l., the location of the cold season 0°C isotherm. However, a significant negative trend in Pyrenean snow pack was detected during the second half of the 20th century. This paper analyses the interannual evolution of snow accumulation in these mountains in relation to the variability of atmospheric circulation. The study considers two spatial scales, from weather types over the Iberian Peninsula to hemispheric atmospheric patterns. The results show strong relationships between the annual occurrence of several weather types and spring snow accumulation. Changes in the frequency of several weather types are explained by the evolution of large scale hemispheric circulation patterns, especially the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Thus, the positive trend observed in the NAO index leads to a decrease in the occurrence of types that favour snow accumulation and an increase in unfavourable conditions for snow pack during the second half of the 20th century.
Atmospheric circulation influence on the interannual variability of snow pack in the Spanish Pyrenees during the second half of the 20th century
Juan I. López-Moreno, Sergio M. Vicente-Serrano; Atmospheric circulation influence on the interannual variability of snow pack in the Spanish Pyrenees during the second half of the 20th century. Hydrology Research 1 February 2007; 38 (1): 33–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/nh.2007.030
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