Climate and Dynamics
Dimming/brightening over the Iberian Peninsula: Trends in sunshine duration and cloud cover and their relations with atmospheric circulation
Article first published online: 24 APR 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 114, Issue D10, 27 May 2009
How to Cite
2009), Dimming/brightening over the Iberian Peninsula: Trends in sunshine duration and cloud cover and their relations with atmospheric circulation, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D00D09, doi:10.1029/2008JD011394., , , and (
- Issue published online: 24 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 24 APR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 7 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Received: 31 OCT 2008
- Iberian Peninsula;
- atmospheric circulation
 This study analyzes the spatial and temporal changes in sunshine duration (SunDu) and total cloud cover (TCC) over the Iberian Peninsula (IP) and four subregions during 1961–2004 using high-quality, homogenized data sets. The analyses confirm that over most of the IP and in most seasons, SunDu and TCC variations are strongly negatively correlated, with absolute values ∼0.8–0.9. Somewhat weaker correlations (0.5–0.6) are found in the southern portion of the IP in summer. A large discrepancy between the SunDu and TCC records occurs from the 1960s until the early 1980s when the SunDu series shows a decrease that it is not associated with an increase in TCC. This negative trend or “dimming” is even more pronounced after removing the effects of TCC via linear regression. Since the early 1980s, the SunDu and TCC residual SunDu series exhibit an upward trend or “brightening.” In addition to the long-term dimming and brightening, the volcanic eruptions of El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo are clearly evident in the TCC residual SunDu record. The TCC and SunDu records over the IP are well correlated with sea level pressure (SLP), with above normal TCC and below normal SunDu corresponding to below normal SLP locally in all seasons. The TCC and SunDu related SLP changes over the IP in winter and spring are part of a larger-scale north-south dipole pattern that extends over the entire Euro-Atlantic sector. Other more regional atmospheric circulation patterns, identified from rotated principal component analysis, are also linked to TCC and SunDu variations over the IP. Finally and perhaps surprisingly, the TCC residual SunDu series exhibits a statistically significant relationship with a regional atmospheric circulation pattern during spring, summer, and autumn.