Articles | Volume 17, issue 2
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 665–678, 2013
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 665–678, 2013

Research article 13 Feb 2013

Research article | 13 Feb 2013

Modelling monthly precipitation with circulation weather types for a dense network of stations over Iberia

N. Cortesi1,2, R. M. Trigo2,3, J. C. Gonzalez-Hidalgo1,4, and A. M. Ramos2,5 N. Cortesi et al.
  • 1University of Zaragoza, Department of Geography, Zaragoza, Spain
  • 2University of Lisbon, CGUL, IDL, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 3Universidade Lusófona, Faculdade de Ciências e Engenharias, Lisboa, Portugal
  • 4Instituto Universitario Ciencias Ambientales (IUCA), University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
  • 5University of Vigo, Ephyslab, Vigo, Spain

Abstract. Precipitation over the Iberian Peninsula (IP) is highly variable and shows large spatial contrasts between wet mountainous regions to the north, and dry regions in the inland plains and southern areas. In this work, we modelled the relationship between atmospheric circulation weather types (WTs) and monthly precipitation for the wet half of the year (October to May) using a 10 km grid derived from a high-density dataset for the IP (3030 precipitation series, overall mean density one station each 200 km2). We detected two spatial gradients in the relationship between WTs and precipitation. The percentage of monthly precipitation explained by WTs varies from northwest (higher variance explained) to southeast (lower variance explained). Additionally, in the IP the number of WTs that contribute significantly to monthly precipitation increase systematically from east to west. Generally speaking, the model performance is better to the west than to the east where the WTs approach produce the less accurate results. We applied the WTs modelling approach to reconstruct the long-term precipitation time series for three major stations of Iberia (Lisbon, Madrid, Valencia).