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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-500
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-500
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 07 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 07 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Characterising patterns of heavy precipitation events in the eastern Mediterranean using a weather radar and convection-permitting WRF simulations

Moshe Armon1, Francesco Marra1, Yehouda Enzel1, Dorita Rostkier-Edelstein2, and Efrat Morin1 Moshe Armon et al.
  • 1Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Jerusalem, 9190401, Israel
  • 2Department of Applied Mathematics, Environmental Sciences Division, IIBR, Ness-Ziona, 7410001, Israel

Abstract. Heavy precipitation events (HPEs) can lead to natural hazards (floods, debris flows) and contribute to water resources. Rainfall patterns govern HPEs effects. Thus, a correct characterisation and prediction of rainfall patterns is crucial for coping with HPEs. Information from rain gauges is generally limited due to the sparseness of the networks, especially in presence of sharp climatic gradients. Forecasting HPEs depends on the ability of weather models to generate credible rainfall patterns. This paper characterises rainfall patterns during HPEs based on high-resolution weather radar data and evaluates the performance of a high-resolution, convection-permitting, Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model in simulating these patterns. We identified 41 HPEs in the eastern Mediterranean from a 24-year radar record using local thresholds based on quantiles for different durations, and we ran model simulations of these events. For most durations, HPEs near the coastline are characterised by the highest rain intensities, however, for short durations, the highest rain intensities characterise the inland desert. During the rainy season, the centre-of-mass of the rain field progresses from the sea inland. Rainfall during HPEs is highly localised both in space (< 10 km decorrelation distance) and in time (< 5 min). WRF model simulations were accurate in generating the structure and location of the rain fields in 39 out of 41 HPEs. However, they showed a positive bias with respect to the radar estimates and exhibited errors in the spatial location of the heaviest precipitation. Our results indicate that convection-permitting model outputs can provide reliable climatological analyses of heavy precipitation patterns; conversely, flood forecasting requires the use of ensemble simulations to overcome the spatial location errors.

Moshe Armon et al.
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Short summary
Heavy precipitation events (HPEs), occurring everywhere on the globe, lead to natural hazards as well as to water resources recharge. Rainfall patterns during HPEs vary from one case to another and govern their effect. Thus, correct prediction of those patterns is crucial for coping with HPEs. But what is the ability of weather models to generate such patterns? Here, we characterise rainfall patterns during HPEs based on weather radar data and evaluate weather model simulations of those events.
Heavy precipitation events (HPEs), occurring everywhere on the globe, lead to natural hazards as...
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