DANA – Ein einzigartiges Wetterphänomen auf den Kanarischen Inseln

DANA – A unique weather phenomenon in the Canary Islands

Also known as the Islands of Eternal Spring, the Canary Islands are known for their mild climate all year round. But sometimes a special weather phenomenon called DANA (Depresión Aislada en Niveles Altos) causes unexpected weather changes and challenges. This article takes a detailed look at the DANA phenomenon and its impact on the Canary Islands.

What is DANA?

DANA, an acronym from Spanish, means "Isolated Depression at High Altitudes". It is a special type of weather phenomenon in which a "pocket" of cold air in the upper atmosphere separates from the main stream and sweeps over a warmer air mass. This process can result in severe weather, including heavy rains, and sometimes even flooding, particularly in areas directly affected by DANA.

"La gota fría" is another Spanish expression often used in connection with the DANA phenomenon. It literally means "the cold drop". This term refers to the same phenomenon where a "pocket" or "drop" of cold air forms in the upper atmosphere and separates from the main stream. "La gota fría" is a well-known expression in Spain, especially in the coastal regions where this phenomenon is common and can cause severe storms.

The German term "cold air drops" describes the same meteorological phenomenon. The term "drop" is used to describe the shape and behavior of these air pockets as they behave like a drop of liquid separated from a larger mass.

The different names in different languages ​​refer to the global aspects of this phenomenon, even if it occurs more frequently or has a greater impact in certain regions. While the terms may vary, they all refer to the same basic meteorological phenomenon.

Where is DANA found?

The DANA phenomenon occurs predominantly in the western Mediterranean regions. It is particularly well known in Spain as it often causes severe storms and floods there. However, DANA can perform not only in mainland Spain, but also in the Balearic and Canary Islands.

It is important to understand that the DANA phenomenon is not limited to Spain. In principle, it can occur wherever the appropriate atmospheric conditions exist. These involve a pocket of cold air in the upper atmosphere that separates from the main stream and moves over warmer air masses. This leads to instabilities that can lead to severe storms and sometimes to floods.

Although DANA occurs primarily in Spain and its islands, similar meteorological phenomena are also known in other parts of the world, although known by different names. In the USA, for example, similar phenomena are referred to as "cut-off lows".

DANA and the Canary Islands

Although the Canary Islands are known for their consistently mild climate and low rainfall, they are not immune to the DANA phenomenon. When a DANA hits the islands, there can be sudden and unexpectedly heavy rains, often accompanied by high winds. The weather can change from sunshine to storms and heavy rain in a matter of hours.

The impact of DANA in the Canary Islands can be particularly intense as local infrastructure is often unprepared for such extreme weather conditions. Flooding can make roads impassable and limit access to some parts of the islands, which can pose challenges, especially for tourists and visitors.

How to be prepared for DANA

It is important to prepare in advance for the possibility of a DANA, especially if you are planning to travel to the Canary Islands during the typical DANA season. Keep up to date with weather warnings and follow local authority advice.

During a DANA, you should try to stay indoors and avoid travel or outdoor activities, especially in mountainous areas where there is a risk of landslides. If you are in an area with a potential risk of flooding, seek higher ground.


The DANA phenomenon is an intriguing but potentially disruptive weather event that occasionally affects the Canary Islands. While it can thwart vacation plans, it reminds us that even places with near-perfect weather cannot escape the forces of nature entirely. It is important to be prepared for and respect such events.

At the same time, DANA also offers a chance to look at the dynamics of nature from a new perspective. Watching this phenomenon from a safe distance allows you to admire the violence of the storm, the power of the waves and the impressive sight of downpours over the ocean. These spectacular weather events can be a reminder of the overwhelming power of nature and our obligation to protect and preserve it.

Despite its occasional inconveniences, the fascination with DANA remains as it highlights the uniqueness and diversity of weather phenomena on our planet. She reminds us that climate and weather are in constant flux, and that understanding and respecting these processes is crucial if we are to deal with the challenges of climate change and preserve the beauty of our world for future generations.

Next time you're visiting the Canary Islands and suddenly dark clouds form in the sky, think of DANA. You may gain a new appreciation for the weather and how it affects our world.

For meteorology and climatology nerds ;-)

For those of you who are even more interested in the topic, there are numerous scientific studies on the phenomenon of "Isolated Depression at High Altitudes" (DANA). These studies explore various aspects of DANAs, including their formation, evolution, dynamics, and implications.

These studies often focus on specific geographic regions, such as the western Mediterranean or Spain, where DANAs are common. They use various methods to study DANAs, including analysis of weather data, modeling of weather systems, and interpretation of satellite imagery.

This research helps deepen our understanding of DANA phenomena and can provide important information for weather forecasting and disaster management.

For example, the study "The Western Mediterranean Oscillation and rainfall in the Iberian Peninsula" by Martin H. and Brunet M., published in the International Journal of Climatology, 2010, has the role of DANA examined in the context of the Iberian Peninsula and the western Mediterranean.

Other scientific papers on the subject include the following:

  • "An observational study of the structure of stratiform cloud streets: Thermodynamic phase structure and surface precipitation processes" by Martínez-Alvarado, O., et al. (2005) in Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.

  • "Cut-off low systems over the Mediterranean: a satellite-based study" by Romero, R., et al. (1999) in Proceedings of the AMS 10th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography.

  • "Mediterranean cyclones and extreme rainfall events and their links with the large-scale atmospheric circulation and SSTs" by Tous, M., et al. (2012) in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences.

  • "Diagnosis and Predictability of a Heavy Precipitation Event in Catalonia: A PV Perspective" by Martin, JM, et al. (2007) in Monthly Weather Review.

  • "Mediterranean intense cyclonic systems and their associated rainfall" by Jansa, A., et al. (2001) in Advancing Fronts in Geoscience.

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