The Sierra de Guadarrama Climate

Posted in Climate

Ventisca en el Puerto de CotosThe Sierra de Guadarrama, along with the Gredos and Ayllón Sierras, makes up the Sistema Central (the Central System). This chain of mountains runs basically in West-East direction and splits the meseta in two subplateaux having different continental mediterranean climates. The orography of the Central System has a direct influence on the Iberian Peninsula climate; the Northern area has a temperate climate, with dry and warm summers (Csb according to Köppen climate classification) and the Southern region has dry and hot summers (Csa). Csb climate is the one dominating in the Sierra de Guadarrama.

This continental mediterranean climate, typical of the peninsular interior, overlaps in the Sierra de Guadarrama with the mountain climate, with very cold winters and dry chilly summers. As the height increases, there is a precipitation and temperature gradient across the Sierra, so precipitation is more copious and, generally, in the form of snow. On the other hand, the temperature varies inversely to the height.

Another important feature of the Sierra de Guadarrama consists of a bold continentality, in other words, a great temperature contrast. The combination between this quality, the variability caused by the topography (the elevation, slope, orientation and modelling of the Montes Carpetanos and Cuerda Larga alter the air flows), and the distance both to the Atlantic Ocean and to the Mediterranean Sea, makes the Guadarrama area a mosaic of climatic regions. At the same time, these climatic regions influence the existing vegetation patterns and the fauna.

The major example on how the climate influences the landscape in the Guadarrama area is the geomorphology subsequent to current periglacial processes. Similarly, glacial processes (occurred thousand years ago) in the Peñalara massif have created the circuses, moraines and high mountain lakes.

Climograma Puerto de NavacerradaFor greater precision, the climatology of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park can be illustrated with the historical data observed at the AEMET meteorological station in the Navacerrada Pass (Puerto de Navacerrada), located 1890m height. It is a very cold and temperate summer Mediterranean climate, with 0.7 ºC and 16.4 ºC average temperatures on coldest and warmer month, respectively January and July. The annual average precipitation is 1.325 mm, being 24.9 mm in July and 176.5 mm in November, and can be described as strongly mediterranean. The annual average amount of snowfall days is 78, while the one for frost days is 142. The vegetative period is 5 months, except in the peaks higher from 2.000m, in which it is shorter.

As it can be seen in the Navacerrada Pass climatogram, there is a moderate period of aridity during the months of July and August. This is typical of the Mediterranean climate, although the influence of mountain climate makes the season cooler and more humid. The annual thermal oscillation is 17.1 ºC, between the months of January and July.

The temperature gradient (ºC / 100 meters) in the Navacerrada Pass and Segovia (1.005 m height a.s.l.) AEMET stations has been calculated. Although there are fluctuations depending on the month and the year of reference, the average goes from 0,50 to 0,72 ºC in November and April, respectively. A negative gradient about 0,62 ºC/100 km is observed.

MonthTTMTmRHDRDNDTDFDHDDI

January

-0.6

2.0

-3.1

141

82

12

13

0

6

26

7

108

February

-0.2

2.5

-2.9

116

83

11

12

0

4

23

4

107

March

1.5

4.7

-1.7

92

78

10

11

1

2

21

5

159

April

2.5

5.7

-0.8

138

81

13

13

1

4

19

3

160

May

6.5

10.2

2.8

142

76

13

5

4

4

8

3

209

June

11.9

16.3

7.5

71

66

8

1

5

2

1

6

275

July

16.2

21.2

11.3

33

54

4

0

4

1

0

13

339

August

16.3

21.2

11.3

24

54

3

0

3

1

0

12

323

September

12.4

16.6

8.2

63

65

7

1

3

3

1

8

212

October

6.7

9.8

3.6

143

81

11

3

1

4

6

6

146

November

2.8

5.4

0.2

186

83

12

8

0

6

15

6

108

December

0.7

3.2

-1.7

176

83

13

11

0

7

22

7

93

Year

6.4

9.9

2.9

1326

74

118

78

22

43

142

83

2238

 

T Average monthly / annual temperature (°C)

TM Monthly / annual average of the maximum daily temperatures (°C)

Tm Monthly / annual average of minimum daily temperatures (°C)

R Average monthly / annual precipitation (mm)

H Average relative humidity (%)

DR Monthly / annual average number of days of precipitation greater than or equal to 1 mm

DN Average monthly / annual number of days of snow

DT Monthly / annual average number of storm days

DF Monthly / annual average number of fog days

DH Monthly / annual average number of frost days

DD Monthly average annual number of clear days

I Average monthly / annual number of hours of sun

Source: AEMET. Data from the Navacerrada Pass station (1.890 m) for years 1971 to 2000.

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