Why does it rain more in northern Spain?

cloud formation

In our perception of climate and rainfall distribution within our country, it is commonly assumed that the northern regions experience significantly higher rainfall compared to the southern half. In fact, the communities adjacent to the Cantabrian Sea and Galicia have the highest levels of precipitation, with Pontevedra's notable 1.691 mm being the record for a provincial capital. This makes people wonder why it rains more in the north of Spain.

In this article we are going to tell you the reasons why it rains more in the north of Spain.

Precipitation data

rain in northern Spain

By briefly examining the precipitation data recorded in various provincial capitals, we come across certain records that may pique our curiosity and ultimately challenge our preconceived notions.

Cádiz, capital of the southernmost province of the Iberian Peninsula, It receives an approximate annual rainfall of 600 liters per square meter, surpassing other capitals located in the northern third. For example, the average annual rainfall in Logroño does not even reach 400 liters per square meter.

Seville and Córdoba, known for their scorching temperatures and almost non-existent summer rainfall, receive an annual rainfall of 534 mm and 536 mm respectively, exceeding the figures of other provincial capitals in the northern region by more than 150 liters. These statistics eclipse peninsular cities such as Zamora (363 mm), Lleida (369 mm) and Zaragoza (318 mm).

With its constantly favorable climatic conditions, The Canary Islands offer an ideal destination to travel all year round. However, it is important to note that certain areas experience significant rainfall. For example, the Tenerife North-Los Rodeos airport receives an average annual rainfall of 557 liters, comparable to other regions in the north of the country, such as Burgos (555 mm) and León (556 mm). It is also worth mentioning the frequency of rainy days.

Except for these notable cases, there are additional factors that prevent us from stating with certainty that it rains more in the north than in the south. However, this begs the question: why is it a common belief among the majority?

Why does it rain more in northern Spain?

rain in spain

The explanation is quite simple: In the northern part of the peninsula there tends to be a significantly higher frequency of rainy days, which validates our perception to a certain extent. Specifically, northern areas experience more rainy days, although precipitation amounts are relatively small. On the contrary, in the southern region there are fewer rainy days, but when it does rain, the volume of precipitation is considerably greater.

By reviewing previous cases, we can observe the contrasting distribution of rainfall in different locations. In Cádiz, a total of 600 mm of rain is distributed in just 60 days, while in Logroño the same amount of rain is spread over 67 days. Meanwhile, in Seville an average of 534 mm of precipitation is recorded in 52 days, while in Zamora it takes 64 days to accumulate 363 liters per square meter through rain.

The region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea

Why does it rain more in northern Spain

In terms of rainfall, this region is characterized by being the driest and least rainy in all of Spain. However, it is important to note that this characterization can be misleading, especially during certain weather events like the one currently unfolding.

The east wind has the responsibility of transporting this immense amount of data, acting as a conduit for the humidity of the Mediterranean. This atmospheric river strongly transports humidity towards the coast, causing a powerful impact.

Additionally, the intricate and sudden elevation changes just a few meters from the coast create a barrier to moisture-laden clouds, resulting in prolonged, unrelenting rains. That is why the cold drop phenomenon poses such a significant threat in the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands, where the combination of mountains and sea aggravates its effects.

Without a doubt, these cloud formations They are responsible for most of the precipitation in the Mediterranean region. When storms and fronts approach from the north and west, they often reach the coasts in a depleted and arid state, producing no precipitation.

The type of instability known as DANA is advantageous for the interior and center of the peninsula. In early fall, these powerful weather systems have the ability to release significant amounts of precipitation. Madrid is an excellent example of a place that benefits from this particular weather pattern.

Southern region

Despite the initial impression, significant rainfall is recorded in this region, especially during the autumn season. This is due to the influx of Atlantic storms, full of moisture, that enter from the southwest, specifically from Huelva or Cádiz, and it rains generously to Andalusia, Extremadura and Castilla La Mancha. These storms also reach the heart of the peninsula. Interestingly, this weather pattern is very advantageous for Madrid, as the Sierra acts as a barrier, capturing rainfall and ensuring a constant supply of rain over the capital.

Typically, these storms are characterized by their intensity and the presence of weather systems that bring heavy precipitation. It is important to keep in mind that the province of Cádiz receives the highest amount of rainfall in Spain, and this is due to the combination of these climatic patterns and the unique geography of the region, which includes both sea and mountains, which facilitates an important accumulation of precipitation.

The southern region too It benefits from the Atlantic storms that reach us through Portugal. While it is true that the eastern areas of the aforementioned communities receive minimal rainfall due to weakened and arid fronts, these storms are welcomed during the fall season, particularly in October or November, as they put an end to prolonged periods of heat. scorching and dry.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about why it rains more in the north of Spain and at the same time disprove some myths that usually circulate on the networks.


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