Temporal evolution of threshold temperatures for extremely cold days in Spain

J. A. López-Bueno, J. Díaz*, M. A. Navas, I. J. Mirón, F. Follos, J. M. Vellón, M. S. Ascaso, M. Y. Luna, G. S. Martínez, C. Linares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In contrast to research on heat waves, there are no studies in recent years that analyze the temporal evolution of threshold temperatures (Tthreshold) for extremely cold days (ECD). It is unknown whether threshold temperatures have increased more quickly than the minimum daily temperature (Tmin) in recent years. The objective of this study was to analyze the temporal evolution of the minimum daily temperature (Tmin) in a group of Spanish provinces and compare it with the evolution of threshold temperatures. An ecological, retrospective time series study was carried out using daily observations between January 1, 1983 and December 31, 2018 (36 years) in 10 provinces that are representative of the different climate territories in Spain. For each representative observatory in each province, the values of Tmin were obtained for the winter months (November–March). The value of Tthreshold was determined for each province and each year, using dispersion diagrams for the pre-whitened series, with daily mortality due to natural causes displayed on the Y axis (CIEX: A00-R99) and Tmin grouped by 10 degree intervals on the X axis. To determine the temporal evolution of Tmin and Tthreshold for each province, linear models were fitted, with time as the independent variable. During the winter months, Tmin increased at an average rate of 0.2 °C/decade (IC95: 0.1–0.3), while Tthreshold remained practically constant during the period, at 0.1 °C/decade (IC95% -0.1 0.3). These values are much lower than those obtained in the case of heat, both in terms of the evolution of maximum daily temperature and that of Tthreshold. In conclusion, the fact that this trend has been maintained across time in a scenario of climate change, with a slow increase in minimum daily temperatures and constant values of Threshold, suggests a decrease in the number of ECD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157183
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Adaptation
  • Extreme cold days
  • Temporal Evolution
  • Threshold


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