Javier Herrero


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The significance of monitoring high mountain environments to detect heavy precipitation hotspots: a case study in Gredos, Central Spain
Enrique Morán‐Tejeda, José Manuel Llorente-Pinto, Antonio Ceballos Barbancho, Miquel Tomas‐Burguera, César Azorín-Molina, Esteban Alonso‐González, Jesús Revuelto, Javier Herrero, Juan I. López‐Moreno
Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Volume 146, Issue 3-4

Abstract In 2015, a new automatic weather station (AWS) was installed in a high elevation site in Gredos mountains (Central System, Spain). Since then, a surprisingly high number of heavy precipitation events have been recorded (55 days with precipitation over 50 mm, and a maximum daily precipitation of 446.9 mm), making this site a hotspot in Spain in terms of annual precipitation (2177 mm year) and extreme precipitation events. The neighboring stations available in the region with longer data series, including the closest ones, already informed of wet conditions in the area, but not comparable with such anomaly behavior detected in the new station (51% higher). In this study, we present the temporal variability of detected heavy precipitation events in this mountain area, and its narrow relation with atmospheric patterns over the Iberian Peninsula. Results revealed that 65% of the events occurred during advections from West, Southwest, South and cyclonic situations. A regression analysis showed that the precipitation anomaly is mostly explained by the location windward to the Atlantic wet air masses and the elevation. However, the variance explained by the models is rather low (average R 2 for all events > 50 mm is 0.21). The regression models underestimate on average a 60% intensity of rainfall events. Oppositely, the high-resolution weather forecast model AROME at 0.025° was able to point out the extraordinary character of precipitation at this site, and the underestimation of observed precipitation in the AWS was about 26%. This result strongly suggests the usefulness of weather models to improve the knowledge of climatic extremes over large areas, and to improve the design of currently available observational networks.


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Different sensitivities of snowpacks to warming in Mediterranean climate mountain areas
Juan I. López‐Moreno, Simon Gascoin, Javier Herrero, Eric A. Sproles, Marc Pons, Esteban Alonso‐González, Lahoucine Hanich, Abdelghani Boudhar, K. N. Musselman, N. P. Molotch, James O. Sickman, John W. Pomeroy
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 12, Issue 7

In this study we quantified the sensitivity of snow to climate warming in selected mountain sites having a Mediterranean climate, including the Pyrenees in Spain and Andorra, the Sierra Nevada in Spain and California (USA), the Atlas in Morocco, and the Andes in Chile. Meteorological observations from high elevations were used to simulate the snow energy and mass balance (SEMB) and calculate its sensitivity to climate. Very different climate sensitivities were evident amongst the various sites. For example, reductions of 9%–19% and 6–28 days in the mean snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow duration, respectively, were found per °C increase. Simulated changes in precipitation (±20%) did not affect the sensitivities. The Andes and Atlas Mountains have a shallow and cold snowpack, and net radiation dominates the SEMB; and explains their relatively low sensitivity to climate warming. The Pyrenees and USA Sierra Nevada have a deeper and warmer snowpack, and sensible heat flux is more important in the SEMB; this explains the much greater sensitivities of these regions. Differences in sensitivity help explain why, in regions where climate models project relatively greater temperature increases and drier conditions by 2050 (such as the Spanish Sierra Nevada and the Moroccan Atlas Mountains), the decline in snow accumulation and duration is similar to other sites (such as the Pyrenees and the USA Sierra Nevada), where models project stable precipitation and more attenuated warming. The snowpack in the Andes (Chile) exhibited the lowest sensitivity to warming, and is expected to undergo only moderate change (a decrease of <12% in mean SWE, and a reduction of < 7 days in snow duration under RCP 4.5). Snow accumulation and duration in the other regions are projected to decrease substantially (a minimum of 40% in mean SWE and 15 days in snow duration) by 2050.