The province of Alicante is located in a Mediterranean climate context and presents sub-humid regions (in the northern third of the province) and semiarid areas (in the rest of the territory). The insolation rate is high (about 2800 hours/years) and the maritime influence acts as a thermal regulator.
The complex and rough orography, along with maritime exposure determine the distribution of rainfall, resulting in two main climatic areas:
– the northern area, where rainfall can exceed 1000 mm / year and is generally linked to short periods of heavy rainfalls;
– the south-central area, characterized by a semi-arid environment (downwind from storms), with mean precipitation values below 300 mm / year.
In both areas, rainy events tend to focus on very intense events, usually in autumn, which can cause major avenues. There are cases of exceptional intensity downpours in the range of a few hours, that even exceed the double annual average volume collected in the different observatories.
The thermal contrasts are evident in the province. The temperature distribution is determined by latitude, topography and proximity to the sea. Minimum temperatures are recorded in the “Alto Vinalopó” area and the “Alcoià” area (mountainous inland zones), while in the coastal zone between Torrevieja and Benidorm the average temperatures are the highest in the province.
Besides flood episodes, Alicante’s climate is characterized by a high frequency of droughts. When comparing the average annual precipitation and evapotranspiration it can be found a marked shortage of rainfall that reaches its maximum southward and gradually decreases northward in the province. This balance indicates a process of aridification that affects about 75% of the provincial surface, and which results in a decreased biological development and an increased demand of water for agricultural production.