International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 435–446 | Cite as

Principal sequence pattern analysis of episodes of excess mortality due to heat in the Barcelona metropolitan area

  • Juan Carlos Peña
  • Montserrat Aran
  • José Miguel Raso
  • Nuria Pérez-Zanón
Original Paper


The aim of the study is to classify the synoptic sequences associated with excess mortality during the warm season in the Barcelona metropolitan area. To achieve this purpose, we undertook a principal sequence pattern analysis that incorporates different atmospheric levels, in an attempt at identifying the main features that account for dynamic and thermodynamic atmospheric processes. The sequence length was determined by the short-term displacement between temperature and mortality. To detect this lag, we applied the cross-correlation function to the residuals obtained from the modelling of the daily temperature and mortality series of summer. These residuals were estimated by means of an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model. A 7-day sequence emerged as the basic temporal unit for evaluating the synoptic background that triggers the temperature related to excess mortality in the Barcelona metropolitan area. The principal sequence pattern analysis distinguished three main synoptic patterns: two dynamic configurations produced by southern fluxes related to an Atlantic low, which can be associated with heat waves recorded in southern Europe, and a third pattern identified by a stagnation situation associated with the persistence of a blocking anticyclone over Europe, related to heat waves recorded in northern and central western Europe.


Cross-correlation function ARIMA model Principal sequence pattern analysis Barcelona metropolitan area 



This study was conducted by the Climatology Group (2009 SGR 443 GROUP climatology) and the PaleoRisk Research Group (2014 SGR 507), University of Barcelona. We wish to thank the Meteorological Service of Catalonia and the Fabra Observatory for providing the daily temperature series. The authors would also like to thank the Information and Research Service of the Health Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya for providing mortality data for the city of Barcelona and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office for supplying the 20CRP.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Carlos Peña
    • 1
    • 2
  • Montserrat Aran
    • 1
  • José Miguel Raso
    • 3
  • Nuria Pérez-Zanón
    • 4
  1. 1.Meteorological Service of Catalonia, Department of Territory and SustainabilityGeneralitat de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.PaleoRisk Research Group, Department of Physical and Regional GeographyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Climatology Group, Department of Physical and Regional GeographyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Centre for Climate Change (C3)University Rovira i VirgiliTarragonaSpain

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