On long-term evolution of seasonal precipitation in southwestern Europe
Annual cycles in long time series of precipitation from sixteen southwest European observatories have been analysed using complex demodulation. The stations have been clustered into two distinct regions and a hybrid one. They are referred to as the southwestern Europe precipitation Atlantic regime (SEPAR) and the southwestern Europe precipitation Mediterranean regime (SEPMER), with the hybrid regime referred to in terms of the mean amplitude ratios between semiannual and annual rainfall components. Some evidence of linking between seasonal cycle harmonic amplitudes and the zonal circulation has been found for SEPAR stations and a more obscured relationship for the SEPMER region. Within the SEPAR region the strength of the relationship is diminished towards the north. A trend analysis of the amplitudes against time since 1920 has also been carried out and the results reveal a divergent pattern in trends between annual and semiannual component amplitudes for the SEPAR region. In fact, both an increasing annual-amplitude trend and a decreasing semiannual-amplitude trend are observed, in each case statistically significant. The fact that the seasonal cycle variability of rainfall in southwestern Europe becomes more sensitive southwards to changes in atmospheric zonal circulation over the North Atlantic might, in our opinion, be related to the swing of the circumpolar vortex.