Spain Spain Spain Spain

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Trends of increasing numbers of flash floods in, for instance, Spain agree with the IPCC hypothesis about the increase in both torrential events and people’s vulnerability and exposure to floods.

In the future, Spain could face extreme-behavior wildland fires beyond firefighting capacity, scientists warn.

One of the greatest impacts of sea level rise on seaports is related to wave overtopping. Sea level rise increases overtopping and potentially endangers boats and other assets.

Air pollution is a serious health concern in many parts of the world. Projections of air quality changes over Europe under climate change are highly uncertain, however.

Premium-quality wine areas in Europe are at risk due to climate change.

For the second half this century an intense increase in accumulated heat in central and southern Spain is projected, which would negatively impact wine quality in these regions.

The global area of dryland is increasing rapidly. This was shown from data over the period 1948–2005, and seems to proceed towards the end of this century.

The semiarid Guadiana Basin in the southwestern central plateau of Spain (mostly within the Extremadura region) is expected to be one of the basins most negatively affected

The combined effects of projected climate change and groundwater pumping has been assessed for a catchment in the Upper Guadiana basin (central Spain)

Climate change is considered a large threat to especially montane species. These species often inhabit narrow elevational ranges

The vulnerability of the Pyrenean ski resorts to projected changes in the snowpack under various future climate scenarios has been analyzed. A shorter ski-season length

Does climate change affect the erosion of vineyard soils in the Mediterranean? Recent results for a Spanish study area show that year-to-year variability is too high

Changes in coastal wave patterns due to the effect of climate
change can affect harbour agitation (oscillations within the
 port due to wind waves).

Temperature and rainfall intensity increase has advanced flowering for a number of winter cereals in Spain.

The impact of climate change on natural groundwater recharge has been assessed for southeast Spain. Groundwater recharge will decrease

There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature

European wine farms show considerable potential to improve their economic performance, and thereby ease their situation in a global change scenario.

Desalination is being presented increasingly as a techno-social fix, against the pressures of urbanization, climate change and population on freshwater resources. There is also a downside

The headwaters of the main Spanish rivers are located in mountainous territories where late-autumn and winter precipitation falls in the form of snow leading to the formation of a sustained snowpack.

An analysis of trends in magnitude, frequency and timing of floods was conducted at a national scale in Spain for the periods 1942–2009, 1949–2009 and 1959–2009.

In the past, the number of fires in North-East Spain decreased, indicating that past improvements in management actions have more than counterbalanced the climatic trend.

Between 1959 and 2005 the occurrence of warm events in the winter (December to March) in the Ebro basin has increased. This explains the change in snow accumulation

The Mediterranean Sea is warming in both shallow and deep waters. This warming is part of global climate trends and not a regional phenomenon.

An assessment was made of the impacts of climate change on the potential distribution of six alpine grasslands, two subalpine (and alpine) scrublands and four subalpine forests

The Llobregat River basin in the eastern part of Catalonia (northeast of Spain) has all the specific characteristics to develop severe flash floods

Over the past 30 years, wild land fires have became more extreme, with fire behaviour more and more often exceeding fire fighting capabilities

At the 2050 horizon, temperatures are expected to rise by 3°C and precipitation to decrease by 10–25% during spring and summer. As a result, water resources could drop by 25–35% in the Ebro valley.

Severe hurricane-force (> 32.6 m/s) storms can cause floods in west-European coastal regions and inflict large-scale damage on infrastructure and agriculture.

The combined effect of changes in recharge, crop water demand and sea level rise on groundwater levels and flow into coastal wetlands was studied for three Mediterranean areas ...

The export of agricultural products from the hot and dry Region of Murcia is a ‘virtual’ export of water from a water-scarce region ...

During the period 1958–2005 the thermal conditions for the development and maturation of grapes in north-western Spain have improved ...

Mediterranean regions are subject to violent flash floods that could be intensified in the future due to forest fire and/or climate change ...

A future reduction in ski season length and a drop in the number of skiers have been projected for Andorra, especially at the lowest elevation ski resorts ...

Substantial reductions in potential groundwater recharge are projected for the 21st century in southern Europe and increases in northern Europe ...

A more than 3-fold increase of the area under risk of flooding at the end of the 21st century is projected for the western Basque coast ...

Sandy beaches on the Basque coast are expected to suffer shoreline retreats of between 25% and 40% of the average beach width in the 21st century ...

urrently fuel-humidity limited regions in NE Spain could suffer a drastic shift of fire regime with an up to 8 fold increase of annual burned area in 2100 ...

According to calculations, in the absence of any climate-induced sea level rise, current (moderate) subsidence rates would lead to flooding of about 26 % ...

The role of climate and human-driven fuel changes on the fire regime change over the last 130 years in the Valencia province of Spain ...

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I recommend

National plans/strategies for Spain

  • Sexta Comunicación Nacional de España: Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important Spanish topics

  • Climate Change: observations, projections and impacts. Downloads.

Reports/papers that present a sound overview for Europe

  • Eisenreich (2005). Climate change and the European water dimension. A report to the European water directors.
  • European Environment Agency (2005). Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Europe. Download.
  • European Environment Agency, JRC and WHO (2008). Impact of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator-based assessment. Download.

Reports/papers that focus on specific topics, relevant for all of Europe

  • Agriculture: Rounsevell et al. (2005). Future scenarios of European agricultural land use II. Projecting changes in cropland and grassland. Download.
  • Agriculture: Fischer et al. (2005). Socio-economic and climate change impacts on agriculture: an integrated assessment, 1990–2080. Download.
  • Biodiversity: Thuiller et al. (2005). Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. Download.
  • Coastal erosion: Salman et al. (2004). Living with coastal erosion in Europe: sediment and space for sustainability. Download.
  • Droughts: Blenkinsop and Fowler (2007). Changes in European drought characteristics projected by the PRUDENCE regional climate models. Download.
  • Droughts: European Environment Agency (2009). Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought. Download.
  • Forestry: Seppälä et al. (2009). Adaptation of forests and people to climate change. A global assessment report. Download.
  • Health: Kosatsky (2005). The 2003 European heat waves. Download.
  • Health: WHO (2008). Protecting health in Europe from climate change. Download.
  • Insurance and Business: Mills et al. (2005). Availability and affordability of insurance under climate change. A growing challenge for the U.S. Download.
  • Security and Crisis management: German Advisory Council on Global Change (2007). World in transition: Climate change as a security risk. Summary for policy-makers. Download.
  • Storms: Gardiner et al. (2010). Destructive storms in European forests: Past and forthcoming impacts. Download.
  • Storms: Pinto et al. (2007). Changing European storm loss potentials under modified climate conditions according to ensemble simulations of the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Download.
  • Tourism: Deutsche Bank Research (2008). Climate change and tourism: Where will the journey lead? Download.

Weblogs in Spanish

  • ...

EU funded Research Projects

Agriculture

Aquifers

Biodiversity

Climate change scenarios

Climate change impacts and vulnerabilities

Coastal areas

Cultural-historical heritage

Droughts and water scarcity

Flash Floods

Floods

Forest fires

Forestry

Fresh water resources

Health

Insurance and Business

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Security and Crisis management

Urban areas

Storms Spain

Vulnerabilities Spain

Spain has nearly 8,000 km of coastline (including Canary Islands and Balearic Islands). Half of it lies along the Atlantic and the rest borders the Mediterranean. Compared to its neighbours further north, Spain is less affected by winter storms from the Atlantic. However, higher storm activity under climate change over the adjacent Atlantic is likely to lead to an increase in the intensity of winds over some parts of the country by the end of the century. Maximum wind speeds could increase by 2-4% in northwestern Spain by the end of the century, while in Galicia, the number of days with high winds could increase by up to 10% (1).

Another type of storm made its first appearance on the Iberian Peninsula in 2005: Europe’s first hurricane – Hurricane Vince – landed on the southwestern coast of Spain in October. It was the farthest northeast a tropical storm had ever developed in the Atlantic and it developed over water that was thought to be too cold to be able to support a tropical storm. Following Hurricane Vince, the tropical storm Delta hit the Canary and Madeira Islands in November 2005, leaving behind severe damage, power outages and fatalities. However, so far scientists cannot say whether there is a relationship between such unusual storms and climate change (1).

Vulnerabilities – Future storm frequency and intensity

More hurricanes

Model simulations (based on a climate change scenario showing 1°C less global warming than the SRES A1B scenario) suggest that tropical hurricanes might become a serious threat for Western Europe in the future (2). An increase in severe storms of predominantly tropical origin reaching Western Europe is anticipated as part of 21st global warming. An eastward extension of the development region of tropical storms is projected. In the current climate, the main genesis region for hurricanes is confined to the western tropical Atlantic, where sea surface temperatures are above the threshold (27°C) required for tropical cyclones to develop. Future tropical storms that reach western European coasts (and cause hurricane-force storms) predominantly originate from the eastern part of the tropical Atlantic. This is because climate warming in the eastern tropical Atlantic causes sea surface temperatures to rise well above the 27°C threshold.In addition to an increase in the frequency of severe winds (Beaufort 11–12), a shift is projected of the season of highest occurrence from winter to autumn (2).

After their formation, tropical cyclones move in a north-westerly direction. When they reach the mid-latitudes they are caught by the predominant westerly winds, thereby veering their track in a north-easterly direction, with the possibility of reaching Western Europe. Geometrically, this likelihood increases if their genesis region in the tropical Atlantic is further to the east. In addition, the shorter travel distance in the mid-latitudes will enable the “tropical” characteristics of hurricanes to be better preserved along their journey to Western Europe. Hence, the likelihood of these storms maintaining their strength when reaching Western Europe will increase, because there is simply less time for them to dissipate (3).

References

The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Spain.

  1. WWF (2006)
  2. Haarsma et al. (2013)
  3. Hart and Evans (2001), in: Haarsma et al. (2013)
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