The Mediterranean and extreme phenomena
The CIRCE project is investigating the Mediterranean, given that this is a critical zone for the study of climate change and its effects. The Atmosphere Research Group at the UPV/EHU is working on two parts of the project: the first is on atmospheric flows and the second on precipitations. Mr Alonsos work focuses, above all, on the first: "The work I have done is to look at satellite data for evidence that there is a special system of circulation in the atmosphere above the Mediterranean that causes the accumulation of humidity". Accumulation of humidity and that of contaminants go hand in hand. "The cycles of re-circulation produce accumulation of contaminants, at least in the western basin. And, if contaminants accumulate, water vapour can also accumulate and, in this way, evidence for this manner of accumulation can be sought from satellite data. This evidence has been found in data recorded by various NASA satellites and with it a database has been created which gathers information from 2000 until 2008.
As regards the second part -precipitations-, they studied, amongst other things, the sources of water vapour that have caused some of the most important torrential rains and droughts. Of particular interest was the origin of the floods occurring over a number of summers in Poland and Germany. Mr Alonso believes that behind these there is "an accumulative process": small local changes caused by humans and which, when taken together, have triggered changes at continental and global scales.
As far as the other project -GRACCIE- is concerned, the Atmosphere Research Group researches into the effects of gradual and abrupt climate changes, especially in Iberian Peninsula. "It is going to be colder and it is going to be hotter, there will be more droughts and more floods,
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