Climatic Change

, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 101–113 | Cite as

The effects of the NAO on the ice phenology of Spanish alpine lakes

  • G. Sánchez-LópezEmail author
  • A. Hernández
  • S. Pla-Rabes
  • M. Toro
  • I. Granados
  • J. Sigró
  • R. M. Trigo
  • M. J. Rubio-Inglés
  • L. Camarero
  • B. Valero-Garcés
  • S. Giralt


Three Spanish alpine lakes located in the Central Range (Peñalara Lake and Cimera Lake) and the Pyrenees (Redon Lake) are selected to understand the effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on ice phenology. A conceptual lake model is formulated based on Pearson’s correlation coefficients obtained between season-scale time series of the NAO index, climatic data (i.e., precipitation, air temperature and snow data) and limnological variables (ice phenology records). The results suggest that the effects of the NAO are only reflected in the thawing process via the air temperature and the insulating effect of snow accumulation on the ice cover. An altitude component is evident in our survey because the effects of the NAO on Peñalara Lake (the lowest altitude studied lake) are restricted to winter, whereas for Redon Lake (the highest altitude studied lake), the effects extend into spring. A latitudinal component is also clear when comparing our data with northern European lakes. Snow accumulation primarily depends on the air temperature at high latitudes, and both precipitation and the air temperature control snow accumulation at lower latitudes. Consequently, in northern Europe, the NAO signal is primarily reflected in lake ice phenology via the air temperature, whereas our results confirm that in southern Europe, the strong dependence of precipitation on the NAO determines the importance of the NAO for lake ice cover.


North Atlantic Oscillation North Atlantic Oscillation Index Snow Accumulation Freezing Process Lake Morphometry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the PALEONAO project (CGL2010-15767/BTE), RapidNAO project (CGL2013-40608-R) and an undergraduate JAE grant (BOE 03/02/2011) for Guiomar Sánchez from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC). We thank the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET) for providing the climatic station data. We also thank the Limnological Observatory of the Pyrenees (LOOP) for providing data from Redon Lake, the National Park of ‘Sierra de Guadarrama’ for providing the ice records, the ‘Confederación Hidrográfica del río Duero’ for providing the snow depth data from the Puerto Peones gauge, and the Regional Park of ‘Sierra de Gredos’ for permitting the field work and helping with related logistics.

Supplementary material

10584_2015_1353_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (5.2 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 5281 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Sánchez-López
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Hernández
    • 2
  • S. Pla-Rabes
    • 3
    • 4
  • M. Toro
    • 5
  • I. Granados
    • 6
  • J. Sigró
    • 7
  • R. M. Trigo
    • 2
  • M. J. Rubio-Inglés
    • 1
  • L. Camarero
    • 3
  • B. Valero-Garcés
    • 8
  • S. Giralt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera (ICTJA-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Instituto Dom Luiz (IDL), Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC)GironaSpain
  4. 4.Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplications Forestals (CREAF)BarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Centro de Estudios Hidrográficos (CEDEX)MadridSpain
  6. 6.Centro de Investigación, Seguimiento y Evaluación. Parque Nacional de la Sierra de GuadarramaMadridSpain
  7. 7.Center for Climate Change (C3)TarragonaSpain
  8. 8.Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (IPE-CSIC)ZaragozaSpain

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