Study of the heat wave of the summer 2003 at the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula

DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2011.8.09

Tethys no. 8 pp.: 89 - 99

Abstract

The heat wave that affected much of Europe during the summer of 2003 also had a strong impact on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula (IP). The aim of this study is to place the instrumental context and determine the exceptional or unexceptional nature of the heat episode which occurred between June and August 2003 by analyzing a series of maximum and minimum temperatures adjusted to the daily scale, corresponding to 5 stations distributed along the Mediterranean coast of the IP, located from north to south in: Barcelona, València, Alacant, Murcia and Málaga. The heat wave has been placed in the instrumental context (1900-2007) and both the extreme and average values of the temperature of the summer of 2003 have been analyzed at a regional level and by individual weather stations. The results indicate that the episode of 2003 can be considered extreme and unusual, with a real average temperature for June-July-August that is above the 1900-2007 average by 3.3ºC, which exceeds the previous record, from 2001, by 1.6ºC. It should be noted, however, that the episode was more pronounced in the north than in the south of the Mediterranean coast of the IP.

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Partially funded through grants CGL2007-29820-E/CLI, CGL2008-02804-E/, CGL2009-07417-E and CGL2011-14046-E of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation