Sunday, January 24

Why Filomena causes the biggest snowfall in years in Madrid despite climate change

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Some deniers have already made their own deduction: if we are immersed in a process of global warmingThat the world is determined to fight, how is it possible that snowfalls are occurring in Madrid that had not been seen in decades?

But Filomena is not here to agree with Trump supporters, but to take it away again. Because global warming can affect the frequency and intensity of the extreme weather episodes, as explained in the meteorological information portal

The atmospheric configuration over Spain has been The key for this storm to have had such a great impact and these historical snowfalls have been generated that have not been seen for many years in the center of the country, with maximum level warnings (red) in various regions of the center and east.

The storm Filomena is a storm of Atlantic origin. The system associated with this low pressure center was already loaded with relatively warm and very humid air before reaching Spain, so intense rainfall was guaranteed by its presence. But to know why there have been such heavy snowfalls and at such low levels, in areas where it is very unusual to see flakes fall, it is necessary to look back at what happened days ago in our country.

Since the beginning of the year we have been under the influence of a very cold air mass, of polar origin That has caused the temperatures to be below normal even taking into account that they are usually the coldest days of the year.

The presence of this cold air with abnormally low temperatures has been aor of the key ingredients for the episode to have left such extreme weather, since it is necessary that low temperatures occur in the different layers of the atmosphere for it to snow.

Another determining factor, apart from the origin of the storm, is the trajectory it has followed. It reached the Iberian Peninsula through the extreme southwest, placing its center in this area of ​​the country on Friday. Due to the circulation of the air around the storms, at this point it has been blowing humid air from the Mediterranean to the center of the country, Thus “feeding” the clouds so that greater amounts of precipitation were generated in the form of snow and, therefore, more striking and unusual thicknesses were given.

Without a doubt, Filomena’s storm is about an episode of extreme weather in our country. It has been exceptional and of special relevance due to its intensity and because there has not been a storm this important for years in terms of the extent of the affected areas and the amounts of accumulated snow.

Climate change can affect the frequency and intensity of the extreme weather episodes And, we know, for example, that extremely hot temperatures are becoming more frequent, but what about big snowfalls and cold waves? How is it possible that this has happened in Spain if there is global warming?

When we say there is global warming We refer to the fact that the average temperature of the planet is increasing, something that is already happening and will continue to happen in the coming decades due mainly to the action of man on the planet. At the same time, extreme temperature events will continue to occur, both warm and cold, although with a higher average temperature, more warmer and less cold events could occur.

To know what “Fault” or part of the responsibility is climate change of the occurrence of a meteorological event there are so-called attribution studies carried out by scientists a posteriori.

Filomena’s case can be analyzed once it is over, but what we do know is that snowfalls like the one left by this storm are very rare and something like this had not happened in our country for a long time.

Knowing that climate change is a reality, the return period for episodes like this could increaseIn other words, due to climate change, it could take more years for such a situation to recur.

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