Study: Goodbye to Spanish cold nights

Heatwave in Spain, 2004 - Image NASA Earth Observatory

We’ve also heard that “snow will be a thing of the past” too.

Via Euerkalert and the University of Salamanca, some heated worry, sans UHI, and AMO:

Given the impact of climatic extremes on agriculture and health in Spain, researchers at the University of Salamanca (USAL) have analysed the two factors most representative of these thermal extremes between 1950 and 2006 – warm days and cold nights. The results for mainland Spain show an increase in the number of warm days greater than that for the rest of the planet and a reduction in the number of cold nights.

Few studies to date have focused on climatic extremes and the changes occurring in maximum and minimum temperatures and in warm day and cold night variables. Until now, most research studies had analysed average temperature changes on a global scale. These results indicated an increase “most probably” caused by human factors.

The new study, published in the journal Climatic Change, has made it possible to analyse the causes of the variations in climatic extremes from a physical point of view, in other words “which changes are taking place in the air masses reaching the Iberian Peninsula, as well as sea temperature”, as Concepción Rodríguez, lead author of the study and a researcher at the General and Atmospheric Physics Department at the USAL, tells SINC.

“The results indicate an increasing trend in the frequency of warm days and a reduction in the frequency of cold nights. The trend towards the reduction of cold nights correlates with that obtained at global level, according to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, the increase in warm days in mainland Spain is higher than the number obtained globally for the planet as a whole”, the scientist explains.

The atmosphere and oceans are thermometers

In order to explain these differences, the scientific team linked the increase in warm days with climate teleconnection indices, which show the variability of atmospheric and oceanic characteristics. “Warm days are related to atmospheric teleconnection patterns, while cold nights are caused, principally, by the temperature of the sea (in the North Atlantic)”, the researcher adds.

Weather that draws air masses up from the north of Africa is the leading cause of warm days. “The type of weather that causes more cold nights is the depression over the Gulf of Genoa, which brings cold and dry air from central Europe to Spain”, explains Rodríguez, who says that the change in the number of warm days and cold nights is much more pronounced in the south west and north east of the Iberian Peninsula. “One of the most probable causes of these changes is the variation in the surface temperature of the sea in the eastern Atlantic”, she points out.

Last July, the researchers presented their study for the whole of Europe at the Congress on Statistics and Climatology in Edinburgh (Scotland). This study showed a “fairly significant” increase in warm days and nights in summertime.



Rodríguez-Puebla, Concepción; Encinas, Ascensión H.; García-Casado, Luis Alberto; Nieto, Susana. “Trends in warm days and cold nights over the Iberian Peninsula: relationships to large-scale variables” Climatic Change 100(3-4): 667-684, junio de 2010. DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9721-0

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DJ Meredith
September 1, 2010 8:53 am

Oh how inconvenient a station audit might be……

September 1, 2010 8:53 am

I have been to Spain recently and have witnessed the building boom over the last 15 years or so. The joke is that the crane (construction crane) has become the national bird. No exaggeration—in Madrid they are as far as the eye can see. Of course, high rises are heat sinks and radiators of heat at night. Can one say UHI?

September 1, 2010 9:02 am

Odd… I have been traveling to south eastern spain yearly for over a decade now and my experience is that summer nights are getting less warm and less humid even though i go there at around same time of year every year.
I came home from my last vacation trip this weekend and even though day temps were high the night temps was rather mild in comparision to even a few years ago.

Douglas DC
September 1, 2010 9:12 am

UHI effect_anyone_? I smell grant money….

September 1, 2010 9:12 am

OMG, Spain is burning, where’s Nero

September 1, 2010 9:21 am

What data set are they using? I just looked quickly at the average temperature data for Spanish stations listed at GISS and there is no obvious pattern visible there.

Josh Grella
September 1, 2010 9:24 am

Well, they are right about the changes being man made. UHI is directly due to humans building more and more and causes the exact same pattern of warmer days and less cold nights. But, let’s not let facts get in the way of a perfectly invalid (and probably friend-reviewed, I mean, peer reviewed)study.

September 1, 2010 9:26 am

Scipio – Nero, I believe, is cleaning up horse muck in the Senate. He will be along shortly.
The rain in Spain falls mainly in her researchers brains.

September 1, 2010 9:30 am

Another one of those regional centric stories designed to influence skeptics and agnostics, while paving the way for a grant.

Patrick Davis
September 1, 2010 9:32 am

There was snow on some beaches last winter in Spain?

Billy Liar
September 1, 2010 9:36 am

I think all those windmills are slowing the airmasses down as they travel across Spain reducing the cooling effect of the winds off the sea.

September 1, 2010 9:49 am

Have you checked the map? There is another country there.
REPLY: Yes Portugal, and you may want to have NASA correct their headline too
But the current article is about Spain and climate data, and Portugal is not part of the story – Anthony

September 1, 2010 10:01 am

The AMO switched to the cold mode in 2005. How long can they ride on that 30-years long positive trend, which already ended?

September 1, 2010 10:27 am

Impugning a study just because it shows a warming trend without regard to the evidence presented in the study is a non-scientific knee jerk sort of response. You’re doing the same kind of thing that some AGW proponents do when you attack a study simply because of the warming trend. Unless you don’t believe any of the scientific evidence, the world has been warming for a while, so there’s nothing extraordinary in finding a warming trend in a particular area.

September 1, 2010 10:30 am

Yes, should really be Iberia, not Spain, but we all know what is meant 🙂
btw, for reference, I think the source is this:
Which is in turn a translation of:

September 1, 2010 10:39 am

Scipio says:
September 1, 2010 at 9:12 am
OMG, Spain is burning, where’s Nero
He’s fiddling…

September 1, 2010 10:48 am

And very pleasant it is too. I am glad I came but must admit I hadn’t noticed the change over the last 10 years. Thankyou for bringing it to my attention.

September 1, 2010 10:52 am

Great fuzz also here in Portugal, where I’m from. It’s all over the news! Reading the abstract, it seems data from Spain AND Portugal is included. I would love to see the article, but I can only find the abstract:
What I can tell you all is that these have been two wonderful months of sunshine, both in Portugal and Spain. The tourists have loved it! If one sees the temperatures for Europe, they have been a disgrace! So it’s good for these two countries, which have been hit by recession. The only drawback is the quantity of forest fires that occurred (only) in Portugal. But, the explanation for them is very peculiar, since they didn’t happen widely in Spain .
Also, expect more fuzz because of the August temperatures. They clearly were above mean values, and might have even broken records.
If anyone wants more detailed info from Portugal & Spain, please use the email on the top left side of my blog.

Myron Mesecke
September 1, 2010 11:00 am

Yes, yes, all this talk about cold and hot, days and nights. What we are really interested in is whether the rain in Spain still falls mainly on the plains.
There’s got to be grant money somewhere for that study.

Dave Johnson
September 1, 2010 11:01 am

Goodbye to Spanish cold nights maybe, but it’s certainly not goodbye to them in my neck of the woods in the North of england

September 1, 2010 11:01 am

Spain has suffered from a lot of snow and blizzards since 2006 i dont see why a new study should exclude the last 4 years unless of course it is inconvenient.

September 1, 2010 11:10 am

The last time I was in Spain was 1971, it was cold too. I’m told there have been some changes. That’s the biggest problem with life, things are always changing and most of the changes really aren’t ‘better’.

UK John
September 1, 2010 11:19 am

More moisture an answer?
I have been to Mallorca on holiday every year since 1974 at the same time of year and comparing old photos to current photos the pine trees have gradually climbed up the mountains, now this may be due to more moisture or maybe less goats.
Can I get a grant to remain there for the rest of my life?

September 1, 2010 11:29 am

“Statistics and Climatology” seems an odd bedfellow for the expression “fairly significant”.

September 1, 2010 11:32 am

I’m a 40+ years old national spanish. I used to work for the national weather service back in the 90’s.
In Spain, most people live densely packed around 15 o 20 cities, the rest of the country is almost empty except the coast line. These cities have experienced a huge growth over the past 40 years.
Almost all weather stations before 1970 were located in the suburbs of these cities or in airports. These suburbs were nice places to measure temperature 40 years ago, but now they are surrounded by thousands of new buildings. On the other side, air transportation wasn’t well extended in Spain until mid 70’s or 80’s, so there were very few real airports back in the 60’s and 50’s.
Another interesting fact is that electronic automatic weather stations weren’t deployed until late 80’s, and it was done in a massive way to replace man operated stations. I remember seeing big differences between temperature readings both in automatic and man operated stations. The transition between automatic and manual took several years. Automatic weather stations is a modern feature in Spain and I’m not sure if, in the end, spanish meteorologist were able to get a ‘smooth’ transition between both operating procedures.
Back in the 50’s, Spain was a poor country and imported gods (as good instrumentation) was a luxurious thing that very few could afford. The weather service never was a properly founded public service until mid 80’s, when several huge storms killed many people and the government started being concerned about weather. It was then when a massive Fujitsu Facom M382 supercomputer was ordered and was then when The spanish weather service started to use software from the University of Wisconsin (McIDAS).
That said, I don’t thing that the data available is good enough to get such a very precise conclusion as the people at the University of Salamanca claims.
PD: Anthony, thanks for this superb website.

Colin from Mission B.C.
September 1, 2010 11:41 am

“The results for mainland Spain show an increase in the number of warm days greater than that for the rest of the planet and a reduction in the number of cold nights.”
Excellent. The Everywhere Is Warmer Than Everywhere Else theme continues.

September 1, 2010 11:41 am

“One of the most probable causes of these changes is the variation in the surface temperature of the sea in the eastern Atlantic”

So, this effect could, in fact, be flipped yet again when the Atlantic surface temps start their cooling trend. She makes this current weather pattern sound so final.
We all know that past weather (climates) have gone through both warm and cold periods. This will continue.

September 1, 2010 11:48 am

Is tat based on raw data or homogenized data?
Las winter they had record snowfalls in the Pyrenees, in the Spanish Sierra Nevada they had the largest snow accumulation of the Century. This summer they were using carterpillars to clean the snow from ski slopes on a ski resort in the Pyrenees to make possible a traditional mountain bike competition.
I wonder how that fit into the study.

September 1, 2010 11:51 am

The results for mainland Spain show an increase in the number of warm days greater than that for the rest of the planet and a reduction in the number of cold nights.

This reminds me of:
“Everywhere is warming faster than anywhere else”

September 1, 2010 11:57 am

Breaking news:
Environmentalist takes hostages at Discovery Channel HQ, (Silver Spring MD)
Climate Lunacy manifesto:

September 1, 2010 12:09 pm

UK John,
There is a recent study in the Swiss Alps about the treeline migraring upwards. They found that the main reason was declining traditional farming

CPT. Charles
September 1, 2010 12:11 pm

Very O/T but,
Concerned ‘Green’ holding a hostage at the Discovery Channel Building.
Here’s the story:
And, yes that’s his ‘manifesto’

CPT. Charles
September 1, 2010 12:12 pm

Make that 6 hostages.
My mistake.

Gary Pearse
September 1, 2010 12:13 pm

This looks like a trap to catch Willis! See if he bites.

Sam S
September 1, 2010 12:14 pm

“The results for mainland Spain show an increase in the number of warm days greater than that for the rest of the planet”
I’m not getting it. Why is this significant? The rest of the planet’s increase in warm days is some vague and abstract average. Why would any area in the world exactly equal that average? Every area has some slightly different average than the average of the whole Earth, of course! Moreover, there has to be about an equal amount of places above and below that average.

September 1, 2010 12:17 pm

I find it odd that this recent report ends at 2006, when data to 2009 is available?
They wouldn’t be trying to hide the decline… would they???

September 1, 2010 12:18 pm

The good news of the economic downturn is that sometime THEY won’t have money to buy all those color ink cartridges they spend. 🙂

September 1, 2010 12:24 pm

All areas are warming “faster than the rest of the planet” – Arctic, New Zealand, Australia and now Spain, too. So some parts of the planet must warm slower than the rest of the planet, but they were not a subject of scientific studies yet, so their whereabouts is unknown.

September 1, 2010 12:26 pm

Damned Skeptic says:
September 1, 2010 at 10:27 am

You must revisit WUWT archives and read them all. Then you will realize that we have entered in a Maunder like Minimum, where those REDS, unfortunately, have no place, for at least 30 years more.
Sun’s “cardiogram”, as taken at the ER:
Please, remember this, next Christmas.

September 1, 2010 12:28 pm

However, the increase in warm days in mainland Spain is higher than the number obtained globally for the planet as a whole”, the scientist explains.
What, you mean the number of warm days doesn’t hit the Global average? When it comes to CAGW, wonders never cease! Some are even “fairly significant”: “This study showed a ‘fairly significant’ increase in warm days and nights in summertime.”
And so Winter’s still relatively safe, then? You know, “Given the impact of climatic extremes on…health in Spain.” And thank god Spain doesn’t have to worry about Socialism’s “impact”.

September 1, 2010 12:35 pm

There is an spanish proverb which says:
Lo que natura non da Salamanca non presta
Meaning: What nature does not give you, Salamanca (the university) can not lend it to you.
It seems that this applies to these guys. LOL!!

September 1, 2010 12:45 pm

O/T – The UK has just had the coldest August for 17 years.

September 1, 2010 12:53 pm

“Weather that draws air masses up from the north of Africa is the leading cause of warm days. “The type of weather that causes more cold nights is the depression over the Gulf of Genoa, which brings cold and dry air from central Europe to Spain”, explains Rodríguez, who says that the change in the number of warm days and cold nights is much more pronounced in the south west and north east of the Iberian Peninsula. “One of the most probable causes of these changes is the variation in the surface temperature of the sea in the eastern Atlantic”, she points out.”
What a load of crap! It is frightening to read how researchers could be so clueless about meteorology and atmospheric circulation and have to invoke Teleconnections to come to the rescue of their ignorance!

Stephen Wilde
September 1, 2010 12:57 pm

During the late 20th century warming period the depression track from the Atlantic moved poleward and Spain received more frequent southerly and maritime air masses.
The trend has already reversed with the depression track having moved back equatorward again.
Their report may be factually correct but is now out of date and the cause has been incorrectly attributed unless they assert that more CO2 makes the jets move poleward.
That was being said a while ago (on the Discovery Channel and elsewhere) but since then CO2 has continued to increase but the jets moved equatorward so that’s a dead duck.

September 1, 2010 12:59 pm

As the late Marcel Leroux was mocking these kind of ignoramuses: “we all know it’s warm in the South so when it’s warm here, air must be coming from the south… bulletproof BS isn’t it?!”

Bill DiPuccio
September 1, 2010 1:10 pm

In order to establish the cause, more research should be done on land cover changes.
Perhaps more importantly the surface trend should be compared to the satellite trend in the lower troposphere. Is this a general warming in the lapse rate or is this a surface boundary layer issue caused by changes in albedo, evaporation, etc.?
Too many open questions to draw any conclusions about causality!

September 1, 2010 1:16 pm

did someone really say
…it shows a warming trend without regard to the evidence presented …
hehe. couldn’t resist.

September 1, 2010 1:19 pm

I think we (spanish) are very angry with our asshole president Zapatero and his friends (spanish ministers and world dictators), so temperature grows up everywere.

September 1, 2010 1:19 pm

would a journal called “Climatic Change” accept papers which would put its existance into question ?

September 1, 2010 1:19 pm

O/T apologies:
2 Sept: SeattleWeeklyBlog: James Lee, Discovery Channel Hostage Taker, Is From British Columbia?
In 2008, Lee was arrested for disorderly conduct by Montgomery County police after a lengthy protest outside of the company’s headquarters. Lee was upset by what he saw as a pro-capitalist, anti-environmental agenda in Discovery’s shows.
Lee spent thousands of dollars in local newspapers advertising the protest. He also hired homeless people to stand next to him to make it appear as if he had a larger group of demonstrators and threw money into the air while saying “money is nothing, money is trash.”
A website called is registered to Lee at an address in Burnaby, British Columbia…
Lee’s website is one long Malthusian rant against overpopulation, immigrants and Discovery’s role in turning the world to shit…
UPDATE: Lee’s manifesto isn’t available online, probably because the server he’s using can’t handle the millions of hits it’s getting right now. But Business Insider managed to copy and paste it before it got overwhelmed by traffic.
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it…

September 1, 2010 1:26 pm

OT and be careful because it’s on-going and early reports may be inaccurate, but an AGW activist is holding hostages in Md right now.

September 1, 2010 1:34 pm

Jeff says:
September 1, 2010 at 1:26 pm
Get him an Al’s kind of massage to calm him down! LOL

September 1, 2010 1:38 pm

For those who read Spanish, skeptical climatologist Antón Uriarte has a blog here (wich I recommend):
He has not commented on this new study yet, but I bet he will soon.

September 1, 2010 1:46 pm

The study is behind a pay wall. Has anybody seen it or last year’s presentation at the Congress on Statistics and Climatology in Edinburgh

September 1, 2010 1:48 pm

This is turning into a great blog concerning the reality of human-induced climate change. I thought the post about the science of carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect was just a detour, but science is becoming a theme here!

George E. Smith
September 1, 2010 2:19 pm

Warm days and cold nights eh ! and it’s all due to the surface Temperature (cold) of the sea they suggest.
Well I would add that it could be due to less H2O in the atmosphere; which of course would be a typical result of lower sea Temperatures.
We could make a model; like so:-
🙂 –> /\/\/\/\ – – – – – – – – -> H/O\H + O=C=O – – – – – – – – -> \ | /
Which decodes thusly:- The sun 🙂 on the left (day) supplies short wave energy –> which is captured by and warms the surface /\/\/\/\ which in turn emits LWIR energy – – – – – – – – – > some of which is intercepted by H2O or CO2 or both, including possibly clouds which scatter some of the LWIR allowing only some of it – – – — – – > to escape to space \ | /.
As a result of this delaying process in the escape of the LWIR energy – – – – – – – – – > we have the sun in the meantime, continuing to pour in more short wave energy –> so as a result of this additional input, the Temperature rises. The more of the H2O and CO2 or other GHG or clouds there are to absorb or scatter the LWIR, the more the delay, in exit of energy and the hotter the solar input makes the surface. What could be simpler than that; and yes the legal disclaimer says other thermal processes are also at work.
Now an amazing thing happens at night; That chap on the left 🙂 goes night night, so he stops pouring any more short wave energy –> onto the surface /\/\/\/\; but the LWIR from the surface doesn’t stop; so the surface starts to cool down as the energy escapes. It escapes at exactly the same rate as it was doing at the moment the sun went to sleep; but as the Temperature drops, T^4 also drops, and the rate of emission of the LWIR – – – – – – – – – > starts to diminish slowing down the cooling rate. With no input from the sun, the cooling delay does not result in more solar input, and so higher surface Temperatures; the surface simply cools down.
Now notice one thing about this diagram. The energy comes in from the Left, and it exits to the right according to some (possibly complex) Transfer Function. That Transfer Function changes, if you change the amount of H2O (vapor) or the amount of CO2 or the amount of scattering cloud But the energy ultimately all exits stage right.
There isn’t any FEEDBACK of part of the output, returning to the input; it is a unidirectional gain function; well actually an attenuation function; and the only thing that happens at sundown, is that the input signal shuts off. The system continues to propagate the consequences of the last of the input signal before it shuts off, until it has all exited. Well actually, the propagation delay is quite long (Temperature decay Time Constant) so before the last dregs of output are gone; the input signal turns on again next morning; so the system typically does not return to the no signal ground state completely; before a new signal arrives.
So for those who think that clouds at night are a positive feedback warming “forcing” ; there ins’t any feedback in this sytem; just variations in the (unidirectional) Transfer Function. And averaged over times of Climate (not weather) significance, the net effect of more clouds is less energy collecting on earth; so it cools down; always.
So if the Rain in Spain stops falling on the plain; then yes it is likely to warm up; but that is due to more sunlight collecting during the day; not the lack of cloud warming at night.

September 1, 2010 2:22 pm

Wow, Spain looks spicy hot. I have a feeling the producers of the study, went into a romantic day dream.

Theo Goodwin
September 1, 2010 2:50 pm

In related news, the usual summer heatwave in my old hometown, St. Louis, has broken. Check the forecast and you will see highs in the eighties and seventies for the next five days. This break is two weaks early, at least. We are going to have a very cold winter.

September 1, 2010 5:23 pm

Just a question, isn’t this the place that went overboard erecting bird killing machines that suck energy out of the wind? Less circulation, less convection, less natural cooling maybe?

jack morrow
September 1, 2010 5:50 pm

“Scientific team” says ….
Sounds like a car dealership-a used one. Ha.

September 1, 2010 5:53 pm

“extremes between 1950 and 2006”

September 1, 2010 6:26 pm

I was going to go to Spain for a vacation next year, BUT, I don’t want to go to a place that is burning up faster than everywhere else on the planet so I will have to look for a a place that is statistically, on average, burning up less quickly than the rest of the planet.
Mosher was right! I should have been willing to help with the gridded temperatures then I could have calculated my new holiday location quite easily. Now I will have to look for adjustments and do s full scale analysis. Maybe I should just go the arctic — oh wait it’s warming faster than everywhere else. Oh dear! Hmmm, Antarctica? Southern Ocean? — hmm Anthony says no… hmmm Sahara?

R. de Haan
September 1, 2010 7:12 pm

This is a strange story because several friends of mine living in Madrid took a course
“driving under snow and ice conditions” and they all bought winter tires for the first time in their life and boy did they need them last winter.
A friend of mine who has a small air strip in the mountains near Madrid had to wait for the end of March this year to get acces because of all the snow from last winter.
I personally think they can stick this report you know where.

September 1, 2010 7:23 pm

“But the current article is about Spain and climate data, and Portugal is not part of the story – Anthony”
References about Iberian Peninsula includes Portugal. One more evidence how things are done at NASA…

Pamela Gray
September 1, 2010 7:28 pm

There is no possible way CO2 could be warming SST’s to the degree that land temps are warming at night. Where is the CO2 mechanism? This all looks like oceanic and atmospheric oscillations to me, as well as the possibility of heat island contamination.

September 1, 2010 7:53 pm

Uh huh….like that surprise snowstorm on March 8, 2010 of this year in Barcelona….where it never snows.
Within two weeks of the boreal Spring no less.
For all of you who suffered through a hot boreal Summer…enjoy the photos….

Norfolk, VA, USA

R. de Haan
September 1, 2010 10:27 pm
September 2, 2010 12:31 am

Damned Skeptic says:
September 1, 2010 at 10:27 am
Impugning a study just because it shows a warming trend without regard to the evidence presented in the study is a non-scientific knee jerk sort of response.
Agreed but when they go on to say ‘However, the increase in warm days in mainland Spain is higher than the number obtained globally for the planet as a whole’ you get that sinking feeling of
‘Oh no not again !!!!’

John Marshall
September 2, 2010 2:27 am

My daughter lives in Spain and her take on the Spanish weather is that it is actually getting colder! Winter 09-10 she had snow and temperatures at below 0C. This summer had a warm month, July, but August has been wet and cooler. But she only lives there so what does she know.

R. de Haan
September 2, 2010 9:10 am

In the mean time:
Record low temperatures for the date were tied Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport and Oceanside in San Diego County.
The temperature was 58 degrees at LAX, tying a record set in 1951, the National Weather Service said. Oceanside dropped to 66 degrees, tying a record that has stood since 1914.

September 3, 2010 5:26 am

Ref – José Antonio says:
September 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm
Jose’, it’s a global phenom: “Anthroprogenic Global Political Decay”. People are really getting very, very hot under their collars at these crooks. But, I guess we should not be surprised, Climatologists and Politicians have been in bed with each other for years. Disgusting!!!
We need a Hippocratic Oath for Scientists and Politicians and Bankers and Brookers! In it, somewhere, there needs to be a line like: ..”first, do no harm.” (For Climatologists we need a small island off the Northeast Coast of South America; let’s ask the French to manage it.)

%d bloggers like this: