Long-term precipitation in Southwestern Europe reveals no clear trend attributable to anthropogenic forcing
We present a long-term assessment of precipitation trends in Southwestern Europe (1850-2018) using data from multiple sources, including observations, gridded datasets and global climate model experiments. Contrary to previous investigations based on shorter records, we demonstrate, using new long-term, quality controlled precipitation series, the lack of statistically significant long-term decreasing trends in precipitation for the region. Rather, significant trends were mostly found for shorter periods, highlighting the prevalence of interdecadal and interannual variability at these time-scales. Global climate model outputs from three CMIP experiments are evaluated for periods concurrent with observations. Both the CMIP3 and CMIP5 ensembles show precipitation decline, with only CMIP6 showing agreement with long term trends in observations. However, for both CMIP3 and CMIP5 large interannual and internal variability among ensemble members makes it difficult to identify a trend that is statistically different from observations. Across both observations and models, our results make it difficult to associate any declining trends in precipitation in Southwestern Europe to anthropogenic forcing at this stage.