May the NAO index be used to forecast rain in Spain?

A. Castro, M. I. Vidal, A. I. Calvo, M. Fernández-Raga, R. Fraile


This paper studies the influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on monthly, seasonal and annual precipitation regimes in continental Spain. The data used for this study include the monthly rain series of 325 meteorological stations distributed homogeneously over the study zone, and the monthly NAO indices from 1961 to 1998. A total of 5525 rain series were employed for the analysis. Simple and multiple linear correlations were established between these variables in different combinations. The main aim was to check whether monthly, seasonal or annual precipitation data could be predicted using earlier precipitation data and the NAO index. The geographical areas where the stations have shown a statistically significant correlation have been represented on maps. The results differ depending on the correlation, but, in general, the best results have been found in the fall and winter months. Finally, a practical application of the method was carried out in the Ebro Valley and it was observed that the combination of the NAO index for spring and summer and the precipitation registered in those two seasons may be useful to forecast rain in the fall.


North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO); precipitation; forecasting; Spain; Ebro Valley

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