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The Rain in Spain

The Rain in Spain

Large areas of Spain receive and average of 600mm of rainfall a year, however a big part of the country has an altitude of 660 metres and over which is a constraint to agriculture and an age old problem as many a farmer wished there land would lie below this height as they would invariably receive more rainfall each year.

Almeria, home to Europe's only semi desert barely has around 125-150 mm of rain a year.

Average yearly rainfall varies hugely. Two extremes: 1,955.2mm in 1855, and just 355.8mm in 1981, with an average variation of 20% from one year to the next, excepting the wet Cantabrian Strip. This rises to as much as 40% in places like the Mar Menor in Murcia. Consequently, longer periods are required to come up with a reliable area average (typically 40 rather than 30 years).

Average rainfall in Spain as a whole is around 650mm with the 'wet' part of Spain rising to around 1,000 mm. Semi-arid 300 mm. In Mediterranean Spain, rainfall tends to be concentrated in just a few days, and within this sometimes within a few hours. Figures of 100mm are common, and figures of 250 not exceptional. The record is a remarkable 878mm in Xāvia in 1957, followed 30 years later by 817mm in Oliva (Valencia) on 3 November 1987, followed by 600mm in Albuņol (Granada) on 19 October 1973 and 426mm in Cofrentes (also Valencia) on 20 October 1987. Another example: 119mm fell in one hour on 1 July 2003 in the village of Manuel in Valencia. Interannual precipitation (rainfall, snow, hail, etc) varies hugely. In 1996 it rained twice as much or more as in 1990 in most catchment areas. With these figures beware of making predictions on climate change solely because it hasn't rained much in a given year.

Oddly, one of the wettest villages in Spain is not on the Atlantic coast but in Andalucia. Grazalema in the Sierra de Grazalema has an average of 2,153 mm of rain a year. The warm, humid winds blow in from the Atlantic and cool and condense as they pass over these limestone peaks. The wettest points are certainly on the Galician -Portuguese border and parts of Northern Navarra.

Below shows the average rainfall in mm per month for the big cities:-



Madrid

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall (mm)

35

36

39

45

43

31

10

11

34

48

53

44




Barcelona

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall (mm)

38

37

47

47

44

38

27

44

76

96

51

44



Seville

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall (mm)

66

61

90

57

41

8

1

5

19

70

67

79



Bilbao

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall (mm)

200

155

110

305

250

160

120

117

154

256

251

278



Valencia

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall (mm)

36

32

35

37

34

23

9

19

51

74

51

52




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