EGU23-11234, updated on 16 Apr 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Attributing heatwaves to climate change in mountainous areas. An analysis of the summer 2022 heatwaves in the Pyrenees

Marc Lemus-Canovas1,2, Sergi Gonzalez-Herrero3, Laura Trapero1, Anna Albalat1, Damian Insua-Costa2, Martin Senande-Rivera2, and Gonzalo Miguez-Macho2
Marc Lemus-Canovas et al.
  • 1Andorra Research+Innovation, Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra (
  • 2University of Santiago de Compostela, Non-Linear Physics Group, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • 3WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland

The field of extreme event attribution (EEA) seeks to quantify how recent extreme events are directly exacerbated by ongoing climate change. As this is a relatively new field in climate science, there is a noticeable knowledge gap in EEA analysis in mountain areas. Precisely, this work performs an attribution to climate change of the two greatest heatwaves (HWs) occurred during June and July 2022, both hitting the Iberian Peninsula and southern France, and therefore, the Pyrenees Mountain range. We used the analogues technique on 500 hPa geopotential height composites to identify the 30 days closer to the dynamical structure of both heatwaves for the counterfactual (1950-1985) and factual (1986-2021) period, using ERA5 daily data. Results showed that factual HWs analogues in the factual period have a spatial structure closer to the 2022 HWs events than those analogues extracted from the counterfactual period. At the Pyrenean scale, we observed that 2-meter air temperature differences consisted of a positive non-uniform pattern in a factual world, with a significant increase in the southern slope of the mountain range and in the nearby depressed areas. However, most of the mountain range exhibited a small increase of the HW air temperature in a factual world. We also provided an explanation of the physical process involving the abovementioned 2-meter air temperature differences. In this study, we revealed the complexity of conducting the attribution of extreme heatwaves to climate change in mountain areas, both because of the scarcity of in-situ data, as well as due to the physical processes involved during these extreme events in an area of complex terrain.

How to cite: Lemus-Canovas, M., Gonzalez-Herrero, S., Trapero, L., Albalat, A., Insua-Costa, D., Senande-Rivera, M., and Miguez-Macho, G.: Attributing heatwaves to climate change in mountainous areas. An analysis of the summer 2022 heatwaves in the Pyrenees, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11234,, 2023.