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Mechanisms producing different precipitation patterns over north‐eastern Italy: insights from HyMeX‐SOP1 and previous events

Davolio, S., Volonté, A., Manzato, A., Pucillo, A., Cicogna, A. and Ferrario, M.E. (2016) Mechanisms producing different precipitation patterns over north‐eastern Italy: insights from HyMeX‐SOP1 and previous events. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 142 (S1). pp. 188-205. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.2731

Abstract/Summary

During the first HyMeX Special Observation Period (SOP1) field campaign, the target site of north‐eastern Italy (NEI) experienced a large amount of precipitation, locally exceeding the climatological values and distributed among several heavy‐rainfall episodes. In particular, two events that occurred during the last period of the campaign drew our attention. These events had common large‐scale patterns and a similar mesoscale setting, characterised by southerly low‐level flow interacting with the Alpine orography, but the precipitation distribution was very different. During Intensive Observing Period IOP18 (31 October–1 November 2012), convective systems were responsible for intense rainfall mainly located over a flat area of the eastern Po Valley, well upstream of the orography. Conversely, during IOP19 (4/5 November 2012), heavy precipitation affected only the Alpine area. In addition to IOP18 and IOP19, the present study analyses other heavy‐precipitation episodes that display similar characteristics and which occurred over NEI during the autumn of recent years. A high‐resolution (2 km grid spacing) non‐hydrostatic NWP model and available observations are used for this purpose. The two different observed precipitation patterns are explained in terms of interaction between the impinging flow and the Alps. Depending on the thermodynamic profile, convection can be triggered when the impinging flow is forced to rise over a pre‐existing cold‐air layer at the base of the orography. In this situation a persistent blocked‐flow condition and upstream convergence are responsible for heavy rain localized over the plain. Conversely, if convection does not develop, flow‐over conditions are established and heavy rain affects the Alps. Numerical parameters proposed in the literature are used to support the analysis. Finally, the role of evaporative cooling beneath the convective systems is evaluated. It turns out that the stationarity of the systems upstream of the Alps is mainly attributable to persistent blocked‐flow conditions, while convective outflow slightly modifies the location of precipitation.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:88726
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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