IberiaNature

My favourite nature guides

These two are essential:

Spain guide books

The Rough Guide to Spain : my personal favourite, the background material is excellent

Spain (Lonely Planet) The default choice for many travellers and perhaps the most practical of the general guides to Spain.

Hiking in Spain (Lonely Planet Walking Guide) The best general hiking guide with. 58 walks are included from the Camino de Santiago to Mallorca.

 

Weather in Spain

Spain’s climate is determined by its unusual world position, on the south western edge of Eurasia and just 13.4 kilometres from Africa at its narrowest point, with an ocean to the west and a sea to the east, and by its continental land mass and high mountainous terrain, producing a mosaic of climates, the most varied in Europe. Weather presenters here often have a lot to fit in their two minutes (see below for note on TV3).

Mainland Spain can be divided into four climatic zones:
  1. Atlantic climate of northern coast. Average temperatures here are 9ªC in winter and 18ªC in summer. This is the wettest part of the peninsula with annual rainfall between 800-1500mm, brought by a successive depressions from the Atlantic , particularly in autumn and winter. Although summers are cooler and wetter here than the rest of Spain , there is a marked summer drought and plenty of warm, sunny weather.
  2. Continental Mediterranean climate of interior central plateau (mesetas). Low temperatures in winter, with temperatures under -15ºC not uncommon, and under -20ºC regularly occurring. Summer an average 24ªC. Annual rainfall under 400mm. Heavy snowfalls in winter. As the Castilians say " nueve meses de invierno y tres meses de infierno. " "nine months of winter and three months of hell".
  3. Mediterranean climate proper. Eastern and southern coast and much of the Guadalquivir Valley . Average temperatures of 11ºC in winter and 23ºC in summer. Annual rainfall between 250 mm and 600 mm.
  4. Alpine climate
  5. Subtropical climate. Canary Islands . Average winter temperatures above 14ºC. Average summer temperatures around 22ªC. Varied rainfall figures, MORE TO COME

See: Climate of Andalusia - Climate of Asturias and Cantabria - Climate of Castilla y Leon - Climate of_Madrid

Temperatures in Spain

  • Hours of sunshine vary in Spain from 1,700 on the Cantabrian coast up to more than 3,000 in the South and the Canaries.
  • The official record of the lowest temperature in Spain is at Estany Gento in Lerida with -32ºC in 1956, though once again experts suspect that some of the peaks in the Aragonese Pyrenees have fallen as low as -40ºC. See Temperature records
  • There are a number of official figures in Spain of around 47ºC, including at Écija , also known as the 'sartén or frying pan of Andalucia' in the province of Seville, with 47.0ºC in 1959 and again 1967, and Seville itself in 1946. See Temperature records
  • The sun in the northernmost reaches of Spain reaches a height of 69.5 on the horizon on the summer solstice. In Tarifa, Spain’s southernmost point, it reaches 77.5. On the winter solstice it’s 22.5 and 30.5, respectively. This means, clouds apart, a significant difference in sun received. Bilbao airport receives 1,525 hours, Costa de La Luz from Huelva to Cadiz around 3000 hours.
  • If one applies the rule of thumb of a decrease in average temperature of 0.65ºC every 100m in altitude ascended, there exists a difference in temperature of some 22ºC between the freezing peaks of Mulhacen, the ceiling of the Sierra Nevada at 3,478m, and semi-tropical Granada coast just 40km apart, -all things being equal, which of course they never are. Thus, while the average temperature of much of the Mediterranean coast is some 15ºC – close to the world average – temperatures above 2500m are below freezing.
  • The coldest stretch of coast in the winter is in Guipúzcoa with an average of 8ºC. The warmest is the coast of most of Andalusia with 13ºC.
  • The valleys of the Sistema Ibérica suffer the highest numbers of frost during the year, with places such as Calamocha and Molina de Aragón with an average of 120 frosts per year. Similarly, Reinosa in the Cordillera Cantábrica at 950m above sea level has an average of 90 days of frost.
  • On peaks above 2,500m in the Pyrenees, Picos de Europa, Sistema Central and Ibérico and Sierra Nevada it snows between 90 and 120 days a year. In the latter ranges, snow is often present October to June in the highest and shadiest spots, though it only remains all the year round in the glaciers of the Pyrenees.
  • Spain is a temperate country with average temperatures sea level of between 14º-20ºC. “Continentality” and altitude however cause daily temperatures ranges of up to 30ºC in parts of the country (Belichte in Zaragoza and Ordesa in Huesca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average temperatures of Spanish cities (provincial and island capitals)

 

°C

Altitude of station

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

Albacete

43m

4.7

6.8

8.8

11.7

15.4

20.1

24.3

24.2

20.1

14.2

8.8

5.1

13.6

Alicante

81m

11.5

12.2

13.9

15.7

19.0

22.4

25.3

25.7

23.5

19.1

15.0

12.1

18.0

Almeria

7m

12.2

12.7

14.4

15.8

18.7

21.8

24.9

25.6

23.3

19.5

15.6

13.2

18.1

Badajoz

192m

7.6

9.8

12.5

15.0

17.9

22.6

25.7

25.9

22.7

17.5

12.4

8.5

16.5

Barcelona

175m

9.1

10.3

11.8

14.1

17.4

21.2

24.2

24.1

21.7

17.5

13.1

10.0

16.2

Bilbao

258m

8.6

10.3

11.1

13.3

15.7

18.7

20.8

21.2

19.5

15.6

11.6

8.8

14.6

Burgos

891m

2.3

3.8

6.2

8.7

11.8

15.5

18.5

18.6

15.7

10.8

5.9

2.8

10.1

Cordoba

92m

9.3

10.9

13.6

15.3

18.9

23.9

27.0

27.1

25.0

19.3

14.1

10.4

18.1

Cuidad Real

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granada

680m

6.7

8.7

10.8

13.8

16.9

21.3

25.1

25.1

21.2

15.9

10.6

6.9

15.2

Ibiza

7m

11.9

12.3

13.5

15.2

18.1

22.3

25.5

26.1

24.2

20.6

16.6

13.6

18.4

La Coruña/O La Coruna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Las Palmas de Gran Canario

25m

17.3

17.4

18.0

18.6

19.6

21.1

22.8

23.6

23.3

22.4

20.4

18.2

20.2

Leon (virgin del camin)

926m

3.4

4.8

7.4

8.7

12.0

16.7

20.3

19.6

17.5

12.1

7.9

5.0

11.3

Logroño

353m

6.2

7.5

10.1

11.6

15.2

19.8

22.7

22.3

20.1

15.1

10.1

7.2

14.0

Mahon (Menorca)

87m

10.5

10.7

11.8

13.7

17.2

21.0

24.2

24.4

22.4

18.6

14.4

11.9

16.7

Madrid (retiro)

657m

5.0

6.6

9.4

12.2

16.0

20.8

24.7

24.3

19.8

13.9

8.7

5.4

13.9

Malaga

16m

12.1

12.9

14.7

15.7

18.7

22.6

25.1

25.1

23.6

19.6

16.0

13.3

18.4

Oviedo

335m

8.2

8.8

10.2

10.9

13.3

16.0

18.6

18.7

18.2

14.8

11.6

9.8

13.3

Palma de Mallorca

17m

10.4

11.0

12.5

14.7

17.9

21.8

24.8

25.2

23.1

18.7

14.5

11.5

17.1

Salamanca

814m

3.6

5.5

7.9

10.6

14.0

18.4

21.6

21.6

17.8

12.3

7.3

3.9

12.1

Murcia

5m

10.8

11.7

13.5

15.1

17.7

21.6

24.2

25.1

23.3

19.5

15.4

12.2

17.6

San Sebastian

258m

8.4

8.1

9.9

11.2

13.7

16.2

18.7

18.9

18.4

15.6

11.9

9.9

13.5

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

 

17.6

17.6

18.3

19.1

20.3

22.1

24.3

24.9

24.2

22.7

20.5

18.5

20.8

Santander

64m

9.6

9.8

11.3

12.1

14.5

17.0

19.1

19.4

18.7

16.1

12.6

10.7

14.3

Sevilla

13m

10.7

11.8

14.1

16.1

19.7

23.4

26.7

26.7

24.3

19.4

14.5

11.2

18.2

Soria

1068m

2.0

4.0

5.8

8.6

11.9

16.3

19.9

19.9

16.5

10.7

5.9

2.4

10.3

Valencia

13m

10.9

11.6

13.4

15.1

18.3

21.5

24.4

24.8

22.7

18.7

14.4

11.7

17.4

Valladolid

734m

3.4

5.4

7.9

10.3

13.8

18.0

21.2

21.1

17.9

12.5

7.3

3.9

11.9

Zamora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zaragoza

221m

6.6

8.1

11.0

13.2

17.2

21.2

24.4

23.7

20.6

15.5

10.2

7.0

14.8

Note these figures may not coincide others quoted on this site as values vary in function of weather station and sequence of years. It'll give you a rough idea though.

Source: INM

Rain in Spain

  • Great swathes of Spain receives an average of around 600 mm precipitation a year. The average altitude of the country is 660m. The combination of the two as a constraint to agriculture led the Spansih writer Miguel de Unamuno to remark on the “problema de los 600”, dreaming of a land which lay below this height and received more rainfall, for here he believed, somewhat simplistically, lay many of its problems.
  • Almeria is, in all probability, the most arid region in Europe. The Cabo de Gata area, Europes only semi-desert, receives barely 125-150 mm of rain a year.
  • Average yearly rainfall varies hugely. Two extremes: 1,955.2mm in 1855, and just 355.8mm in 1981, with an average variation of 20% from one year to the next, excepting the wet Cantabrian Strip. This rises to as much as 40% in places like the Mar Menor in Murcia. Consequently, longer periods are required to come up with a reliable area average (typically 40 rather than 30 years).
  • Average precipitation in Spain as a whole (a meaningless figure, all the same) is 650mm. In ‘wet’ Spain as a whole this rises to around 1,000 mm. Semi-arid 300 mm.
  • In Mediterranean Spain, rainfall tends to be concentrated in just a few days, and within this sometimes within a few hours. Figures of 100mm are common, and figures of 250 not exceptional. The absolute record is a remarkable 817mm in Oliva (Valencia) on 3 November 1987, followed by 600mm in Albuñol (Granada) on 19 October 1973 and 426mm in Cofrentes (also Valencia) on 20 October 1987. Another example: 119mm fell in one hour on 1 July 2003 in the village of Manuel in Valencia.
  • Interannual precipitation (rainfall, snow, hail, etc) varies hugely. In 1996 it rained twice as much or more as in 1990 in most catchment areas. So beware of making predictions on climate change solely because it hasn’t rained much in a given year.
  • Oddly, one of the wettest villages in Spain is not on the Atlantic coast but in Andalucia. Grazalema in the Sierra de Grazalema has an average of 2,153 mm of rain a year. The warm, humid winds blow in from the Atlantic and cool and condense as they pass over these limestone peaks. The wettest points are certainly on the Galician -Portuguese border and parts of Northern Navarra.
  • Average precipitation for Spain as a whole 1930-1996

    Month

    Monthly total in mm.

    October

    68.6

    November

    72.1

    December

    74.4

    January

    65.7

    February

    58.4

    March

    56.7

    April

    56.7

    May

    56.1

    June

    39.0

    July

    19.6

    August

    25.8

    September

    46.3

    Total

    639.5 mm

    Source: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. www.mma.es

Storms

  • Spain is a stormy country within the European context. Some 10,000 storms are recorded in an average year, of which 5,000 take place in the summer, 2,500 in spring, 2,000 in autumn and 500 in winter.
  • 50 days a year there is a storm somewhere in Spain .
    The record number of bolts of lightning counted in one day in Spain is 60,201 on 17th August, 2003 . See Lightning in Spain
  • Hailstones causes millions of euros of damage to agriculture every year. In 1952 a hailstones weighing as much as half a kilogram fell on the village of Madrilejos in Castilla-La Mancha, destroying 2,000 homes.

Winds in Spain

  • Spain is a windy country. Speeds of more than 175 km/h have been recorded in Los Llanos in Albacete , though winds of more than 200 km/h almost certainly occur around some of the higher peaks.

See also Climate of Andalusia

Climate Change in Spain

The Little Ice Age in Spain

The decline in temperatures throughout the world between the15th and 19th centuries, commonly and poetically known as 'the Little Ice Age' is a well documented event supported by copious and extremely diverse scientific and historical evidence, ranging from studies of ice core and tree ring samples to the disappearance of the fledging Viking agricultural colony under Greenland's ice sheets and the prevalence of snowy landscapes in the art of the time. Scientific consensus reckons on a temperature of 1º to 2º C lower than today in Northern Europe, but is there evidence for a cooling in the Mediterranean and Spain?
Read complete article

 

Pyrenean glaciers melting fast

The glaciers on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees are melting fast.. Total surface area has dropped from 1779 hectares in 1894 to 290 in 2000, representing a fall of 85% in of surface area. 52% of this has occurred in the last 20 years, and 30% between 1991 and 2001. Read complete article

 

Climate change threat to Sierra Nevada Flora

The unique plant communities of the high Sierra Nevada appear to be under threat from rising temperatures. A rise of 1.2ºC has been detected in the province of Granada over the last 20 years, which although not much in itself has been enough to endanger 65 endemic plants, most of which are only to be found in the highest altitudes of the range. Read complete article

 

Iberia most affected by climate change

According to a new report by the EEA (European Environment Agency), Spain and Portugal will be most affected within the EU by coming climate change. Storms, floods and droughts are likely to become more and more frequent with a significant rise in temperature expected. The report notes that temperature in Europe has increased 0.95 degrees over the last 100 years. This increase has been greatest in the Iberian Peninsula and Western Russia. Read complete article

Notes

National TVE forecasters don’t have much room for anything but a cursory glance at the peninsula’s weather. In contrast in the smaller territorial reach of Catalonia is the frankly superb Catalan weather forecast of TV3 – surely a candidate for the best weather programme in the world and a great disseminator of popular science.

Climate and weather of Spanish towns and cities

Andalusia
Almeria - Cádiz - Cordoba - Granada - Huelva - Jaén - Málaga - Sevilla

Catalonia
Barcelona - Gerona - Lérida - Tarragona

Aragon
Huesca - Teruel -Zaragoza

Asturias
Gijón - Oviedo

Balearic Islands
Ciutadella - Ibiza - Mahón - Palma de Mallorca

Basque Country
Bilbao - San Sebastián - Vitoria-Gasteiz

Canarias
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Cantabria
Santander

Castilla y León
Ávila - Burgos - León - Palencia - Salamanca - Segovia - Soria - Valladolid - Zamora

Castilla-La Mancha
Albacete - Ciudad Real - Cuenca - Guadalajara -Toledo

Extremadura
Badajoz - Cáceres

Galicia
La Coruña - Lugo - Orense - Pontevedra

La Rioja
Logroño

Madrid
Madrid

Murcia
Murcia

Navarra
Pamplona

Valencia

 

 

 

Pyrenees climate

Pyrenees temperature

Pyrenees temperatures

temperature in Pyrenees

temperatures in Pyrenees

January - February - March - April - May - June _July - August - September - October - November - December

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