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Evaluation of moisture sources for the Central European summer flood of May/June 2013 based on regional climate model simulations

Kelemen, F. D., Ludwig, P., Reyers, M., Ulbrich, S. and Pinto, J. G. (2016) Evaluation of moisture sources for the Central European summer flood of May/June 2013 based on regional climate model simulations. Tellus A, 68. 29288. ISSN 0280-6495

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3402/tellusa.v68.29288

Abstract/Summary

Heavy precipitation affected Central Europe in May/June 2013, triggering damaging floods both on the Danube and the Elbe rivers. Based on a modelling approach with COSMO-CLM, moisture fluxes, backward trajectories, cyclone tracks and precipitation fields are evaluated for the relevant time period 30 May–2 June 2013. We identify potential moisture sources and quantify their contribution to the flood event focusing on the Danube basin through sensitivity experiments: Control simulations are performed with undisturbed ERA-Interim boundary conditions, while multiple sensitivity experiments are driven with modified evaporation characteristics over selected marine and land areas. Two relevant cyclones are identified both in reanalysis and in our simulations, which moved counter-clockwise in a retrograde path from Southeastern Europe over Eastern Europe towards the northern slopes of the Alps. The control simulations represent the synoptic evolution of the event reasonably well. The evolution of the precipitation event in the control simulations shows some differences in terms of its spatial and temporal characteristics compared to observations. The main precipitation event can be separated into two phases concerning the moisture sources. Our modelling results provide evidence that the two main sources contributing to the event were the continental evapotranspiration (moisture recycling; both phases) and the North Atlantic Ocean (first phase only). The Mediterranean Sea played only a minor role as a moisture source. This study confirms the importance of continental moisture recycling for heavy precipitation events over Central Europe during the summer half year.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:57488

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