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CLIMATIC WARMING IN THE SPANISH MEDITERRANEAN

:
NATURAL TREND OR URBAN EFFECT
(CICYT Project, National Climate Plan)
J. QUEREDA SALA 1 , A. GIL OLCINA 2 , A. PEREZ CUEVAS 3 ,
J. OLCINA CANTOS 2 , A. RICO AMOROS 2 and E. MONTÓN CHIVA 1
1 ‘Jaume I’ University Weather Station, Ctra. Borriol s/n. 12080 Castellón, Spain
2 Alicante University, Spain
3 Valencia University, Spain

Abstract. The evolution of the mean annual temperatures recorded in the major historical network
of Spanish Mediterranean observatories (36◦ N–45◦ N/60◦ W–4◦ E) exhibits a significant warming
trend. Analysis of the trend is difficult and could be biased by non-climatic processes such as the
urban effect and weather station relocation, which also need to be taken into account.
The present work examines the effects of non-climatic processes and shows that most of the
temperature rise could be due to an urban effect. On correcting for the urban effect, the actual rise was
found to be zero or negligible. The assumption of temperature stability in the Spanish Mediterranean
should therefore not be rejected.

1. Introduction

Global climate change has become a major scientific challenge. This is quite un-
derstandable as the main environmental issue over the next fifty or hundred years
will foreseeably be climate change caused by the rise in CO2 and other gas con-
centrations in the atmosphere. The earth’s temperature is assumed to have risen
about 0.3 to 0.6 ◦ C over the last century (Kelly et al., 1985; Hansen and Lebedeff,
1988; Vinnikov et al., 1990; Jones, 1994a; IPCC, 1996). This estimation is based on
analysis of temperature data records at the world’s main weather stations. However,
analysis is no simple matter, as non-climatic processes such as the effect of cities
encroaching upon observatories and the relocation of most observatories also need
to be accounted for.
In this regard, regional temperature analysis could contribute to eliminating
such ‘noise’ from temperature records and possibly allow detection of a climatic
warming trend (Quereda Sala and Monton Chiva, 1994).

2. Observatories and Data

The data used in this study come from a first and a second-order meteorological
network (Figure 1). The first-order network consists of 10 observatories spread over

Climatic Change 46: 473–483, 2000.
© 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

2. The first data processing step involved testing spatial coherence and continuity of mean monthly temperature data. These (few) values were reconstructed by . DATA QUALITY As the validity of any conclusion regarding climatic evolution depends on the qual- ity of the data involved. Values outside the 99% confidence level were rejected. The basic data involved (INM. 1994). The second-order network initially comprised 27 observatories. whose records date back to the nineteenth century. reconstructing missing values. whose records covered the period 1940–1996. Data from this rural second-order network of sta- tions. every time series used has been run through a number of controls (Lamarque and Jourdain.474 J. hardly or quite unaffected by urban development. Figure 1. British Met- eorological Office for Gibraltar) comprised mean monthly and annual maximum and minimum temperatures. Instituto Nacional de Meteorología. Map of the major Spanish Mediterranean observatories and second-order network of stations used in this study. covering the 1870–1996 time period. QUEREDA SALA ET AL. were used to compare the trend found in the first-order network.1. the Spanish Mediterranean seaboard.

Sneyers. only the Barcelona and San Fernando station in Cadiz could be considered homogeneous at a 95% level. and a considerable part of the non-relocated. calculated from the various series.7.. In this network. 2. The method used for correcting the inhomogeneities involved establishing the difference between the mean data of the period to be corrected and the mean data of the homogeneous period. 55% of the series did not pass the critical 95% level. The calculation consists of a weighted mean by correlation coefficient squares. The correlation coefficients between the processed mean temperature time series needed to exhibit a good measure of correlation. INHOMOGENEITY CORRECTION All the homogeneity breaks confirmed by observatory history were amended.7. All the other first-order observatories exhibited some inhomogeneity. Lamarque and Jourdain. . This requires defining a mean reference time series. CLIMATIC WARMING IN THE SPANISH MEDITERRANEAN 475 simple interpolation of the mean data from the closest observatories with the best correlation coefficient. most of which lie in the first-order network. One cannot know a priori whether an artefact or an actual climatic fluctuation has been detected. if the differences between simultan- eous observations constitute a series of random numbers. 1975. These test outcomes require careful interpretation. The formula proposed by Alexandersson (1986) was used to compute the mean data. it could be assumed that the inhomogeneities in the other time series were artefacts. 1994) and the Alexandersson relative homogeneity tests (1986. 1997) allowed assuming that most of the time series were non-random. r > 0. second-order stations exhibited homogeneous time series. 1966. in which the inhomogeneities are smoothed.2. r > 0. The time period considered non-homogeneous dated from before the time of the break. Of the 10 historical weather stations. the inner homogeneity tests based on a normal distribution (Wald–Wolfowitz test). HOMOGENEITY OF THE TEMPERATURE TIME SERIES With few missing values. As only the fixed first-order observatories San Fernando and Barcelona. start- ing from the date obtained by the Alexandersson test. 2. (Mitchell et al. a series is defined as homogeneous with regard to a synchronic reference series. adding the values of the period to be corrected by this difference. In testing by the Alexandersson method.3. These tests allowed the assumption that most of the first-order network time series were non-random. The second-order network exhibited good homogeneity.

476 J. This could not be done in the other 3 series. 1966. In the first-order network.9 ◦ C for the period 1870–1996. A mean regional series was obtained with these 10 stations. Figure 2 shows the mean regional trend of the mean annual temperatures. Valencia.9 ◦ C rise over the period 1870–1996. The mean temperatures of the partial periods indicate that most of this rise occurred in the last 15 years. and were all significant at a 95% level of confidence. Climate Trend After correcting the series. could be homogenised. and the difficulty of detecting whether an artefact or an actual climatic fluctuation was involved. inhomogeneity was found to appear progressively as a tendency since 1950. used to detect possible heterogeneities and their year of commencement (Mitchell et al. 0. corresponding to the Tortosa. as only the historically confirmed heterogeneities were corrected. i. On applying the Mann–Kendall test. only five of the remaining 8 time series. 3. involving a mean annual rise of 0. This fact. their homogeneity was tested again.5 ◦ C to +1. Vandiepenbeeck. led to keeping all the first-order series for the study. Alicante and Murcia observatories. Sneyers.. The study was moreover propitiated by the fact that most of the second-order series (22 out of 27 observatories) could be homogenised. Castellón. QUEREDA SALA ET AL. 1975. 1995). These five stations had only been relocated once.. Figure 2. Mean temperature trend in the Spanish Mediterranean based on 10 first-order observatories.2 ◦ C.e. exhibiting an 0. 1994. . Lamarque and Jourdain.0071 ◦ C. The tendencies of the mean annual temperatures of the first-order observatories over the 1870–1996 time period varied in the range +0.

Alicante. Other authors con- sider that a number of factors such as increased cloudiness are likely to contribute to decreases in the diurnal temperature range (Easterling et al. Gibraltar and San Fernando observatories (Figure 3). whose effect is not yet fully understood. just 15 km from the city of Murcia). Palma de Mallorca. Mahón. As far as cloudiness is concerned.. . The effect of other possible factors such as troposphere aerosol content (Quereda Sala et al. with certain temporal and spatial variations. The findings revealed that the temperature range nar- rowed in every observatory. However. located on city outskirts in the last century. it was attempted to analyse this possible effect more closely in the first-order observatories. CLIMATIC WARMING IN THE SPANISH MEDITERRANEAN 477 4... 1996) or changes in soil moisture (Lockwood. the Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia installed a second first-order station in the fertile area of the Murcia Province (at Villa de Guadalupe. In the present study. the regional Mediterranean weather stations have shown no variation in recent years. 1997). the decrease in Diurnal Temperature Range is not a clear-cut indica- tion of the urban effect itself. certain findings indicate that human industry has noticeably affected almost all the first-order Spanish Mediterranean observatories. the diurnal temperature range narrows (Dettwiller. In this sense. in our region at least. Some authors restrict the influence of urbanisation to 0. 1998) remains uncertain. The test was applied to the series of differences between the mean annual maximum and minimum temperatures of every first-order observatory. including some rural areas. The diurnal temperature range trend was detected by the Mann–Kendall non-parametrical test. whereas the process started later and has been less pronounced at the other regional first-order observatories. while keeping the historical station in the centre of the city of Murcia. As a city’s growth and its economic activities typically translate into a more significant rise in minimum than in maximum tem- peratures. The range has steadily decreased since 1957 in the Valencia. The evolution of the mean diurnal temperature range in all the first-order obser- vatories was therefore examined. Of course. with 6000 inhabitants. Karl et al. an order of magnitude less than the warming seen in this century (Jones et al. 1990).. have since been progressively enveloped by urban growth. 1978. 1988. in 1984. the minimum temperatures are much lower in the rural area (Figure 4). 1989. Colacino and Rovelli. This can be an indication of a general tendency of any recent climate change: minimum temperature is going up quicker than maximum temperature in many parts of the world. Murcia. These observatories. 1983. 1993). Possible Urbanisation Effect A considerable part of the recorded temperature rise in the first-order observatories could have stemmed from an urban effect..1◦ over the course of the twentieth century. The simultaneous records show that while the maximum temperatures are identical at both observatories. López Gómez et al.001◦ or 0.

QUEREDA SALA ET AL... and Murcia Province rural network ( ).. The creation by the I.. Tortosa and Barcelona (. ).M. seven other first-order stations ( ◦ ). The Diurnal Temperature Range time series for three groups of stations: Castellón..N.478 J.. Figure 4... Figure 3. . in 1984 of the first-order station at Guadalupe in the rural area near the city of Murcia has highlighted the city’s effect on minimum temperature.

The Barcelona–Fabra observatory located at a height of 412 m on Mount Ti- bidabo. Such ‘rural’ time series are only available over about the last 50 years. Alicante and Valencia region. Despite the rudimentary nature of this type of estimation. To estimate the rise in temperature produced by human industry since the last century. as mean annual and monthly temperatures as well as the diurnal temperature range (a classic effect of urban development) were used in the assessment. the difference in the temperature trends is mainly due to an urban effect and not to a difference in the areas. was the only station that hardly appeared to be affected by the neighbouring city (Figures 5 and 6). as shown in Figure 7. This yielded a comparison of the warming recorded in the first and second-order networks. Assuming that the second-order network trend represented the ‘natural temperature trend’.0045 ◦ C).57 ◦ C) was compared with the mean time series of the second-order observatories (+0. the mean values found can be considered valid. CLIMATIC WARMING IN THE SPANISH MEDITERRANEAN 479 Figure 5. the outcomes indicate that urban development and human industry were responsible for an 0. on the outskirts of the urban clustering. They correspond to a second-order network. Photograph of the Fabra observatory in Barcelona on the city outskirts at a height of 412 m on the Tibidabo Mountain. The mean regional temperature time series of the first- order observatories (+0. This comparison shows that. out of range of prevailing city winds. time series not or hardly exposed to any urban effect were required at the same longitude as that of the first-order observatories.57 ◦ C regional temper- . at least in the Murcia. comprising 27 observatories with homogeneous data over the period 1940–1996.

Murcia. . Figure 6. Mean annual temperature trend at the Barcelona (Fabra) station and at the Spanish Medi- terranean observatories with a potential urban effect (Valencia. Alicante. Comparison of the warming trend found in the three nearest first-order observatories (Murcia. Figure 7. Palma de Mallorca and San Fernando).480 J. Mahón. Alicante and Valencia) (1) with the trend found for the second-order stations (2). QUEREDA SALA ET AL.

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