Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-651
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-651

  25 Feb 2021

25 Feb 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Extreme precipitation events in the Mediterranean area: contrasting Lagrangian and Eulerian models for moisture sources identification

Sara Cloux, Daniel Garaboa-Paz, Damián Insua-Costa, Gonzalo Miguez-Macho, and Vicente Pérez-Muñuzuri Sara Cloux et al.
  • CRETUS Institute, Group of Nonlinear Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Abstract. Concern about heavy precipitation events has increasingly grown in the last years in Southern Europe, especially in the Mediterranean region. These occasional episodes can result in more than 200 mm of rainfall in less than 24 h, producing flash floods with very high social and economic losses. To the better understanding of this phenomena, a correct identification of the origin of the moisture must be found. However, the contribution of the different sources is very difficult to estimate from observational data, so numerical models are usually used to this end. Here, we present a comparison between two complex methodologies for the quantification of the moisture sources in two infamous events occurred during October and November 1982 in the Western Mediterranean area. In a previous study, using an Eulerian approach it was determined the contributions of moisture evaporated in: 1) Western Mediterranean; 2) Central Mediterranean; 3) North Atlantic ocean and 4) tropical and subtropical Atlantic and tropical Africa. Now, we use the Lagrangian model FLEXPART-WRF to quantify the role played by these sources. Considering the results provided by the Eulerian analysis as the virtual reality, we validated the performance of the Lagrangian model. Results show that the Lagrangian method has an acceptable performance in identifying local (Western Mediterranean) and medium-distance (Central Mediterranean and North Atlantic) sources. However, remote moisture sources, like tropical and subtropical areas, are underestimated by the Lagrangian approach. Notably, for the October event, the tropical and subtropical area reported a relative contribution six times below than the Eulerian method. In contrast, the FLEXPART-WRF overestimates the contribution of some sources, especially from the Sahara. We argue that such an inconsistent contribution is associated with the fact that the Lagrangian method does not consider moisture phase changes. These overand underestimates should be taken into account by other authors when drawing conclusions from the Lagrangian analysis.

Sara Cloux et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2020-651', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Sara Cloux, 31 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2020-651', Obbe Tuinenburg, 26 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Sara Cloux, 31 May 2021
  • CC1: 'Timely and important study; suggestions for a more careful evaluation of the results', Ruud van der Ent, 12 Apr 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Sara Cloux, 31 May 2021

Sara Cloux et al.

Sara Cloux et al.

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Short summary
Here we present a comparison between two complex methodologies for the quantification of moisture sources in two extreme precipitation events. By using a Lagrangian model (FLEXPART-WRF) and considering the results provided by the previously performed Eulerian analysis, the results show that for the closest sources, the results obtained with both methods have in general a remarkable agreement. However, the contribution of tropical and subtropical areas is largely underestimated by FLEXPART-WRF.