Analysis of synoptic patterns in relationship with severe rainfall events in the Ebre Observatory (Catalonia)

Abstract

The study has obtained a classification of the synoptic patterns associated with a selection of extreme rain episodes registered in the Ebre Observatory between 1905 and 2003, showing a return period of not less than 10 years for any duration from 5 min to 24 h. These episodes had been previously classified in four rainfall intensity groups attending to their meteorological time scale. The synoptic patterns related to every group have been obtained applying a multivariable analysis to three atmospheric levels: sea-level pressure, temperature, and geopotential at 500 hPa. Usually, the synoptic patterns associated with intense rain in southern Catalonia are featured by low-pressure systems advecting warm and wet air from the Mediterranean Sea at the low levels of the troposphere. The configuration in the middle levels of the troposphere is dominated by negative anomalies of geopotential, indicating the presence of a low or a cold front, and temperature anomalies, promoting the destabilization of the atmosphere. These configurations promote the occurrence of severe convective events due to the difference of temperature between the low and medium levels of troposphere and the contribution of humidity in the lowest levels of the atmosphere.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Meteorological Service of Catalonia, the Ebre Observatory, the DOE INCITE project, BER and NOAA.

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Correspondence to Núria Pérez-Zanón.

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Pérez-Zanón, N., Casas-Castillo, M.C., Peña, J.C. et al. Analysis of synoptic patterns in relationship with severe rainfall events in the Ebre Observatory (Catalonia). Acta Geophys. 66, 405–414 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11600-018-0126-1

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Keywords

  • Synoptic patterns
  • Severe rainfall
  • Southern Catalonia
  • Meteorological temporal scales
  • Intensity weighted index
  • Multivariate analysis