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Keywords:

  • logistic regression;
  • rainfall;
  • weather types;
  • Spain;
  • North Atlantic Oscillation

Abstract

The variability of winter precipitation in the west of the Iberian Peninsula is strongly affected by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). This study focuses on identifying the relationship that exists between precipitation registered in the city of León (in northwestern Spain), the NAO index and the associated weather type during the same period. In order to achieve this objective, the prevailing weather type has been calculated for each day in León from January 1948 to March 2009, using the objective Lamb Weather Types classification method. The most significant results appear in winter (from December to March). During these months an increase has been observed in the frequency of ‘anticyclonic’ weather type (A) (very dry), and a decrease in the ‘cyclonic’ (C), ‘south-westerly’ (SW) and ‘westerly’ (W) types (the three rainiest weather types). The positive trend in the NAO index could be the main cause of the decrease in the frequency of the three rainiest weather types (C, SW and W) and therefore, responsible for the relevant decline in winter precipitation observed in the city of León. The high correlation coefficients between the NAO index, the frequency of the three rainiest weather types and winter precipitation suggests an interesting method to forecast rainfall. Using a binary logistic regression model, a downscaling model for daily precipitation has been obtained based on the weather types and the NAO index. The daily results obtained for the winter months are good (TSS = 0.64) bearing in mind that only sea level pressure data were used in the logistic model. Copyright © 2011 Royal Meteorological Society