Climate Dynamics

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 779–797 | Cite as

Climatology of observed rainfall in Southeast France at the Regional Climate Model scales

  • Stéphanie Froidurot
  • Gilles Molinié
  • Arona Diedhiou


In order to provide convenient data to assess rainfall simulated by Regional Climate Models, a spatial database (hereafter called K-REF) has been designed. This database is used to examine climatological features of rainfall in Southeast France, a study region characterized by two mountain ranges of comparable altitude (the Cévennes and the Alps foothill) on both sides of the Rhône valley. Hourly records from 1993 to 2013 have been interpolated to a \(0.1^{\circ } \times 0.1^{\circ }\) latitude–longitude regular grid and accumulated over 3-h periods in K-REF. The assessment of K-REF relatively to the SAFRAN daily rainfall reanalysis indicates consistent patterns and magnitudes between the two datasets even though K-REF fields are smoother. A multi-scale analysis of the occurrence and non-zero intensity of rainfall is performed and shows that the maps of the 50th and 95th percentiles of 3- and 24-h rain intensity highlight different patterns. The maxima of the 50th and 95th percentiles are located over plain and mountainous areas respectively. Moreover, the location of these maxima is not the same for the 3- and 24-h intensities. To understand these differences between median and intense rainfall on the one hand and between the 3- and 24-h rainfall on the other hand, we analyze the statistical distributions and the space-time structure of occurrence and intensity of the 3-h rainfall in two classes of days, defined as median and intense. This analysis illustrates the influence of two factors on the triggering and the intensity of rain in the region: the solar cycle and the orography. The orographic forcing appears to be quite different for the two ranges of the domain and is much more pronounced over the Cévennes.


Precipitation Multi-scale climatology Spatial analysis Mountainous mediterranean region MED-CORDEX HyMeX 



This work is part of the Med-CORDEX initiative ( supported by the HYdrological cycle in The Mediterranean EXperiment (HyMeX) programme ( This research has received funding from the French National Research Agency (ANR) project REMEMBER (contract ANR-12-SENV-001). The rainfall data were provided by Météo-France, in the framework of the OHM-CV observation service funded by CNRS/INSU and Université Grenoble Alpes/OSUG.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stéphanie Froidurot
    • 1
  • Gilles Molinié
    • 1
  • Arona Diedhiou
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’études des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement (LTHE)Université Grenoble Alpes/IRD/CNRSGrenobleFrance

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