Extreme Rainfalls in the Mediterranean Area

Chapter
Part of the Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research book series (NTHR, volume 39)

Abstract

A brief survey on the extreme rainfalls in the Mediterranean area has been carried out beginning from the key thermal and pluviometric features of the Mediterranean macroclimate (wet and mild winters – warm and dry summers), passing through the main air masses that influence the basin and coming arriving to the main circulation patterns favourable to extreme rainfall (Atlantic troughs, Mediterranean cyclones, blocking systems). In the final part of the work a statistical climatology of daily extreme rainfall events on the Mediterranean area has been carried out analysing for the period 1973–2010 the extreme events in the whole Mediterranean basin and in the Western and Eastern sub-basins. On the basis of the results, it has been possible to state that the temporal behavior of the relative weight of selected precipitation classes is generally steady on average. Exploring each rainfall class, it has been evidenced only a significant increase of “moderate” events (whole basin) and a meanwhile decrease of “strong” events (West). On the other hand, the observed positive trends of classes “moderate” and “strong” for the East part of the basin should be confirmed by a richer dataset referred to this specific area. Such analysis has highlighted the weaknesses of the historical series currently available in the freely accessible International datasets, pointing up the need of more reliable data sources in terms of time continuity and spatial coverage.

Keywords

Mediterranean Basin Polar Vortex Mesoscale Convective System Subtropical Anticyclone Mediterranean Cyclone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Alpert P, Neeman BU (1992) Cold small-scale cyclones over the eastern Mediterranean. Tellus 44A:173–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alpert P, Ben-Gai T, Baharad A, Benjamini Y, Yekutieli D, Colacino M, Diodato L, Ramis C, Homar V, Romero R, Michaelides S, Manes A (2002) The paradoxical increase of Mediterranean extreme daily rainfall in spite of decrease in total values. Geophys Res Lett 29:1536. doi:  10.1029/2001GL013554 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anagnostopoulou C, Tolika K (2012) Extreme precipitation in Europe: statistical threshold selection based on climatological criteria. Theor Appl Climatol 107:479–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Argiriou AA, Lykoutis SP (2005) Stable isotopes in rainfall over Greece: results of the 2000–2003 measurement campaign. In: Isotopic composition of precipitation in the Mediterranean Basin in relation to air circulation patterns and climate. Final report of a coordinated research project 2000–2004, International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA-TECDOC-1453, October 2005, pp 83–97. Available at http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/te_1453_web.pdf
  5. Arreola JL, Homar V, Romero R, Ramis C, Alonso S (2002) Multiscale numerical study of the 10–12 November 2001 strong cyclogenesis event in the western Mediterranean. In: Proceedings of the 4th EGS Plinius conference, October 2002, Mallorca, SpainGoogle Scholar
  6. Bjerknes J (1919) On the structure of moving cyclones. Mon Weather Rev 47:95–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bougiatioti A, Fountoukis C, Kalivitis N, Pandis SN, Nenes A, Mihalopoulos N (2009) Cloud condensation nuclei measurements in the marine boundary layer of the eastern Mediterranean: CCN closure and droplet growth kinetics. Atmos Chem Phys 9:7053–7066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Browning KA (1986) Conceptual models of precipitation systems. Weather Forecast 1:23–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Browning KA, Mason J (1981) Air motion and precipitation growth in frontal systems, weather and weather maps, CCRG 10. Birkhauser, Basel, pp 577–593Google Scholar
  10. Campins J, Genov´es A, Picornell MA, Jans`a A (2011) Climatology of Mediterranean cyclones using the ERA-40 dataset. Int J Climatol 31:1596–1614Google Scholar
  11. Carlson TN (1980) Airflow through mid-latitude cyclones and the comma cloud pattern. Mon Wea Rev 108:1498–1509Google Scholar
  12. Cantù V (1977) The climate of Italy. In: Wallen CC (ed) World survey of climatology – climates of central and southern Europe, vol 6, World survey of climatology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 127–173Google Scholar
  13. Charney JG, DeVore JG (1979) Multiple flow equilibria in the atmosphere and blocking. J Atmos Sci 36:1205–1216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen YC, Xue L, Lebo ZJ, Wang H, Rasmussen RM, Seinfeld JH (2011) A comprehensive numerical study of aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions in marine stratocumulus. Atmos Chem Phys 11:9749–9769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Conway BJ, Gerard L, Labrousse J, Liljas E, Senesi S, Sunde J, Zwatz-Meise V (1996) COST 78 – Meteorology – Nowcasting, a survey of current knowledge, techniques and practice, European Commission, report EUR 16861, ISSN 1018–5593, 512 pGoogle Scholar
  16. Degirmendzic J, Wibig J (2007) Jet stream patterns over Europe in the period 1950–2001 – classification and basic statistical properties. Theor Appl Climatol 88:149–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duffourg F, Ducrocq V (2011) Origin of the moisture feeding the heavy precipitating systems over Southeastern France. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 11:1163–1178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunkeloh AD, Jacobeit J (2003) Circulation dynamics of Mediterranean precipitation variability 1948–98. Int J Climatol 23:1843–1866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Emanuel K (2005) Genesis and maintenance of “Mediterranean hurricanes”. Adv Geosci 2:217–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eredia F (1941) Lezioni di meteorologia e di aerologia. S.A. Editrice “Studioun urbis”, Rome, Italy, 614 p (in Italian)Google Scholar
  21. Federico S, Avolio E, Bellecci C, Lavagnini A, Walko RL (2007) Predictability of intense rain storms in the Central Mediterranean basin: sensitivity to upper-level forcing. Adv Geosci 12:5–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fleming ZL, Monks PS, Manning AJ (2012) Review: untangling the influence of air-mass history in interpreting observed atmospheric composition. Atmos Res 104–105:1–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fujita TT (1986) Mesoscale classifications: their history and their application to forecasting. In: Ray PS (ed) Mesoscale meteorology and forecasting. American Meteorological Society, Boston, pp 18–35Google Scholar
  24. Funatsu BM, Claud C, Chaboureau JP (2009) Comparison between the large-scale environments of moderate and intense precipitating systems in the Mediterranean region. Mon Weather Rev 137:3933–3959CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Giacobello N, Todisco G (1979) Caratteristiche sinottiche di alcune situazoni alluvionali. Rivista Di Meteorologia Aeronautica 39:13–151 (in Italian)Google Scholar
  26. Gimeno L, Trigo RM, Ribera P, Garcıa JA (2007a) Editorial: special issue on cut-off low systems (COL). Meteorog Atmos Phys 96:1–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gimeno L, Nieto R, Trigo RM (2007b) Decay of the Northern Hemisphere stratospheric polar vortex and the occurrence of cut-off low systems: an exploratory study. Meteorog Atmos Phys 96:21–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Haurwitz B, Austin JM (1944) Climatology. McGraw-Hill, New York, 409 pGoogle Scholar
  29. Hoinka KP, Schwierz C, Martius O (2006) Synoptic-scale weather patterns during Alpine heavy rain events. Q J R Meteorol Soc 132:2853–2860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Holton JR (2004) An introduction to dynamic meteorology. Elsevier Academic Press, Amsterdam, 535 pGoogle Scholar
  31. Homar V, Ramis C, Alonso S (2002) A deep cyclone of African origin over the western Mediterranean: diagnosis and numerical simulation. Ann Geophys 22:93–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Klein Tank AMG, Wijngaard JB, Können GP et al (2002) Daily dataset of 20th-century surface air temperature and precipitation series for the European Climate Assessment. Int J Climatol 22:1441–1453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Knippertz P, Martin JE (2007) The role of dynamic and diabatic processes in the generation of cut-off lows over Northwest Africa. Meteorol Atmos Phys 96:3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Köppen W, Geiger R (1936) Handbuch der Klimatologie. Verlag von Gebruder Borntraeger, Berlin, 556 p (in German)Google Scholar
  35. Levin Z, Teller A, Ganor E, Yin Y (2005) On the interactions of mineral dust, sea-salt particles, and clouds: a measurement and modeling study from the Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment campaign. J Geophys Res 110:D20202. doi:  10.1029/2005JD005810 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mcintosh DH, Thom AS (1981) Essentials of meteorology. Wykeham Publications Ltd., London, 239 pGoogle Scholar
  37. Nieto R, Gimeno L, De La Torre L, Ribera P, Gallego D, García-Herrera R, García JA, Nuñez M, Redaño A, Lorente J (2005) Climatological features of cutoff low systems in the northern hemisphere. J Clim 18:3085–3103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nieto R, Gimeno L, De la Torre L, Ribera P, Barriopedro D, Garcıa-Herrera R, Serrano A, Gordillo A, Redano A, Lorente J (2007) Interannual variability of cut-off low systems over the European sector: the role of blocking and the Northern Hemisphere circulation modes. Meteorog Atmos Phys 96:85–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nieto R, Sprenger M, Wernli H, Trigo RM, Gimeno L (2008) Identification and climatology of cut-off lows near the tropopause. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1146:256–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Palmen E, Newton CW (1969) Atmospheric circulation systems, their structure and physical interpretation. Academic, New York, 603 pGoogle Scholar
  41. Porcù F, Carrassi A, Medaglia CM, Prodi F, Mugnai A (2007) A study on cut-off low vertical structure and precipitation in the Mediterranean region. Meteorog Atmos Phys 96:121–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ricard D, Ducrocq V, Auger L (2012) A climatology of the mesoscale environment associated with heavily precipitating events over a northwestern Mediterranean area. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 51:468–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Romero R (2001) Sensitivity of a heavy rain producing Western Mediterranean cyclone to embedded potential vorticity anomalies. Q J R Meteorol Soc 127:2559–2597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Romero R, Ramis C, Alonso S (1997) Numerical simulation of an extreme rainfall event in Catalonia: role of orography and evaporation from the sea. Q J R Meteorol Soc 123:537–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Saha S, Moorthi S, Pan HL, Wu X, Wang J, Nadiga S, Tripp P, Kistler P, Woollen J, Mailhot D, Bélair S, Charron M, Doyle C, Joe, Abrahamowicz M, Bernier NB, Denis B, Erfani A, Frenette R, Giguère A (2010) The NCEP climate forecast system reanalysis. American Meteorological Society BAMS, August 2010Google Scholar
  46. Salmi T, Määttä A, Anttila P, Ruoho-Airola T, Amnell T (2002) Detecting trends of annual values of atmospheric pollutants by the Mann-Kendall test and Sen’s slope estimates – the Excel template application MAKESENS Publications on air quality N° 31. Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, FinlandGoogle Scholar
  47. Schultz DM (2001) Reexamining the cold conveyor belt. Mon Weather Rev 126:2205–2225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tibaldi S, Buzzi A (1983) Effects of orography on Mediterranean lee cyclogenesis and its relationship to European blocking. Tellus 35A:269–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tolika K, Anagnostopoulou C, Maheras P, Kutiel H (2007) Extreme precipitation related to circulation types for four case studies over the Eastern Mediterranean. Adv Geosci 12:87–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Toreti A, Xoplaki E, Maraun D, Kuglitsch FG, Wanner H, Luterbacher J (2010) Characterisation of extreme winter precipitation in Mediterranean coastal sites and associated anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 10:1037–1050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trigo RM, DaCamara CC (2000) Circulation weather types and their influence on the precipitation regime in Portugal. Int J Climatol 20:1559–1581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Trigo IF, Davies TD, Bigg GR (1999) Objective climatology of cyclones in the Mediterranean region. J Clim 12:1685–1696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Trigo IF, Bigg GR, Davies TD (2002) Climatology of cyclogenesis mechanisms in the Mediterranean. Mon Weather Rev 130:549–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. UK Metoffice (1963) Meteorological glossary, compiled by D.H. McIntosh, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, London, 287 pGoogle Scholar
  55. Van Delden A (2001) The synoptic setting of thunderstorms in western Europe. Atmos Res 56:89–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. WMO (2012) Frequently asked questions. http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/ccl/faqs.html#q4
  57. Yiou P, Goubanova K, Li ZX, Nogaj M (2008) Weather regime dependence of extreme value statistics for summer temperature and precipitation. Nonlinear Process Geophys 15:365–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zamg (2012) Conceptual models. In: Manual of the SATREP system. http://www.zamg.ac.at/docu/Manual/SatManu/CMs

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Plant ProductionUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations