Autumn-winter in the Sierra de Gúdar
Text: Vicente Aupí ( estrellasyborrascas.com)
Photography: Jose Mena
The great cold tends to make Teruel news in many winters, since it is the Spanish capital where it freezes the most. In December and January it is common for the temperature data to be highlighted in the national press and on television news, but this facet does not do justice to the true profile of Teruel’s climate, which is certainly extreme in some aspects, but much more benign and environmentally healthy than is popularly believed.
Compared to other areas of the interior of the peninsula that are also characterized by a continental climate, Teruel provides, as strange as it may seem, some virtues related to climatic well-being, such as the dryness and cleanliness of the air and higher daytime temperatures during the winter, which promote comfort and health. An example of this is the contrast between the night and daytime temperatures of the three winter months: although the Teruel observatory is the one that, within the state meteorological network, records the coldest nights among all the provincial capitals, what does not happen same during the day, when the thermometers rise more than in other cities located at similar altitudes. In January, which is the coldest month, Teruel registers an average of maximum temperatures of 9.3 °C, which is between 2 and 3 °C higher than those of Burgos, Ávila and Soria, in which the same maximum temperatures of January they remain in averages of 6.7 to 7.4 °C.
These cities are, together, the coldest in Spain. Their respective annual average temperatures are 10.1 in Burgos, 10.4 in Ávila and 10.6 in Soria, while the annual average for Teruel is 11.8. In addition, the typical winter days in Teruel are usually bathed in the sun, while in much of Castilla y León, as well as other closer areas such as the Ebro valley, fog clearly conditions the lives of its inhabitants with remarkable frequency. , since on many occasions they do not get up all day or last for several days in a row. This, on the other hand, is something that rarely happens in Teruel’s capital.
Therefore, the fame of Teruel as a cold place has its share of myth, since regardless of the nighttime values there is a greater warmth in the daytime winter atmosphere that, under normal conditions, surrounds its towns and the provincial capital. This is not an insignificant aspect, since the usual thing in the night hours, which are the coldest hours, is that the population is sheltered from their home, while it is broad daylight when they are outdoors. And it is precisely at these times when Teruel’s climate is clearly more benign than that of other cold areas of Spain. Except for Murcia, Granada and Madrid, there is no other capital in the interior of the peninsula where the air is drier than in Teruel during the winter. This is reflected in the relative humidity values, which in January is 75% on average. The other Spanish cities whose temperatures are similar or colder during the winter season are notably higher in humidity than Teruel, and it is well known that cold air is not only more bearable, but also healthier, when it is drier.
Teruel and its region are, on the other hand, among the least windy areas in Spain. The average route of the wind —data that is used climatologically— is 49,421 kilometers per year, one of the lowest in the meteorological network. This is not an obstacle so that in certain situations, such as storms associated with deep storms or during storms, punctually intense gusts are reached, although in this case the values are not among the highest that have been recorded in Spain. The record of the Teruel observatory is the 106 kilometers per hour of maximum gust that was reached on July 20, 1991, but it is very far from records such as the 190 of Oviedo or the 180 of Almería. Likewise, in the climatic record of Table 1, it is possible to observe the peculiarity that the highest intensities of wind are dated in the months of July and August (106 and 103 kilometers per hour, respectively), and it is not usual that the Maximum gusts come from the hand of the wind storms that generally affect all of Spain, but rather from the strong storms that occur during the summer period.
If we had to define the climate of Teruel and its region according to its behavior during the four seasons of the year, perhaps we could summarize it like this: cold winters, rainy and dazzling springs, pleasant but stormy summers and humid autumns.