Climatology of salt transitions and implications for stone weathering

C Grossi Sampedro, P Brimblecombe, B Menéndez, D Benavente, I Harris, M Déqué

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95 Citations (Scopus)


This work introduces the notion of salt climatology. It shows how climate affects salt thermodynamic and the potential to relate long-term salt damage to climate types. It mainly focuses on specific sites in Western Europe, which include some cities in France and Peninsular Spain. Salt damage was parameterised using the number of dissolution-crystallisation events for unhydrated (sodium chloride) and hydrated (sodium sulphate) systems. These phase transitions have been calculated using daily temperature and relative humidity from observation meteorological data and Climate Change models' output (HadCM3 and ARPEGE). Comparing the number of transitions with meteorological seasonal data allowed us to develop techniques to estimate the frequency of salt transitions based on the local climatology. Results show that it is possible to associate the Köppen-Geiger climate types with potential salt weathering. Temperate fully humid climates seem to offer the highest potential for salt damage and possible higher number of transitions in summer. Climates with dry summers tend to show a lesser frequency of transitions in summer. The analysis of temperature, precipitation and relative output from Climate Change models suggests changes in the Köppen-Geiger climate types and changes in the patterns of salt damage. For instance, West Europe areas with a fully humid climate may change to a more Mediterranean like or dry climates, and consequently the seasonality of different salt transitions. The accuracy and reliability of the projections might be improved by simultaneously running multiple climate models (ensembles).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2577–2585
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

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