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Vertical precipitation gradients: a case study of Alpine valleys of northwestern Slovenia

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Abstract

There are currently 319 precipitation stations in Slovenia, but their density decreases with altitude. In mountainous areas, where the amount of precipitation is the highest and precipitation gradients are also the greatest, there are very few precipitation stations to be found. Consequently, our knowledge of precipitation conditions is poorer precisely in the areas where processes are most intensive, and this leads to a poorer understanding of the water cycle and its effects. This paper examines differences in precipitation amounts and consequent vertical precipitation gradients along selected Alpine valleys in northwestern Slovenia. Precipitation gradients were calculated based on multi-year measurements of precipitation in the summer season. Measurements were taken in the valleys of Beli Potok, Krnica, and Planica in the Julian Alps. The results confirmed assumptions that the amount of precipitation along valleys increases with altitude. Precipitation gradients were significantly large and differed substantially among the valleys despite their proximity to one another. Annual vertical precipitation gradients in some cases exceeded 300 mm/100 m.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Gregor Vertačnik, Ajda Kafol Stojanovič, Tilen Sirše, Gašper Petretič, Marko Podlesnik, and Mojca Ošep for their assistance in performing measurements.

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Correspondence to Erika Kozamernik.

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Ogrin, M., Kozamernik, E. Vertical precipitation gradients: a case study of Alpine valleys of northwestern Slovenia. Theor Appl Climatol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-019-03051-z

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