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Seasonal changes in daily precipitation extremes in mainland Portugal from 1941 to 2007

Santo F.E., Ramos A.M., de Lima M.I.P., Trigo, R.M.
Regional Environmental Change, DOI:10.1007/s10113-013-0515-6

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Abstract

This study aims mostly at understanding seasonal variations in the intensity, frequency and duration of extreme precipitation events in mainland Portugal. For this purpose, selected precipitation indices that mainly focus on extremes were calculated at the seasonal scale for daily data recorded in the period 19412007 at 57 meteorological stations scattered across the area. These indices were explored for trends at the local and regional levels. The results show that there are marked changes in precipitation indices at the seasonal scale. Trends in spring and autumn precipitation have opposite signals. In spring, statistically significant drying trends are found together with a reduction in extremes. In autumn, wetting trends are detected for all indices, although overall they are not significant at the 5 % level. In addition, the relationship between seasonal extreme precipitation indices and atmospheric large-scale modes of low-frequency variability is analysed by means of a seasonal correlation analysis. Four modes of low-frequency variability are explored. Results confirm that, over mainland Portugal, the North Atlantic Oscillation is one of the most important teleconnection patterns in any season and the mode of variability that has the greatest influence on precipitation extremes in the area, particularly in the winter and autumn