Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-206
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-206

  25 May 2021

25 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Dynamical forcings in heavy precipitation events over Italy: lessons from the HyMeX SOP1 campaign

Mario Marcello Miglietta1 and Silvio Davolio2 Mario Marcello Miglietta and Silvio Davolio
  • 1CNR-ISAC, Padua, 35127, Italy
  • 2CNR-ISAC, Bologna, 40129, Italy

Abstract. The first Special Observation Period (SOP1) of HyMeX (Hydrological cycle in the Mediterranean eXperiment) was held in Fall 2012 and focused on heavy precipitation events (HPEs) and floods in the northwestern Mediterranean. Nine intensive observation periods (IOPs) involved the three Italian target areas (north-eastern Italy, NEI; Liguria and Tuscany, LT; central Italy, CI), enabling an unprecedented analysis of precipitation systems in these regions. In the present work, we highlight the major findings emerging from the HyMeX campaign and in the subsequent research activity over the three target areas, by means of conceptual models and through the identification of the relevant recursive mesoscale features.

For NEI, two categories of events (Upstream and Alpine HPEs) have been identified, which differ mainly in the temporal evolution of the stability of the upstream environment and of the intensity of the impinging flow (i.e., the Froude number). The numerical simulation of convection in the Po Valley was found very sensitive to small changes in the environmental conditions, especially when they are close to the threshold between “flow-over” and “flow-around” regimes. Some mesoscale features (e.g., the presence of a shallow pressure minimum in the eastern Po Valley) were identified as fundamental to adequately simulate the detailed evolution of severe convective episodes.

For LT, HyMeX SOP1 focused on orographically-enhanced precipitation over the Apennines and quasi-stationary mesoscale convective systems over the sea or close to the coast. For the latter category of events, associated with the majority of the recent HPEs in the area, local-scale or large-scale convergence lines appear fundamental to trigger and sustain convection. These lines are affected not only by the orography of the region, but also by perturbations induced by Sardinia and Corsica on the environmental flow. Cold pools formed via evaporation of precipitation also played a major role in determining the position of the trigger at later times. The accurate representation of the moisture structure below 2 km is the key to an accurate simulation of the timing and location of precipitation.

For CI, a high low-level moisture content and marked low-level convergence over the sea were critical to support deep convection in IOPs affecting the Tyrrhenian coast. Also, an elevated moisture plume from the Tropics was observed to locally reinforce the intensity of the updrafts. For HPEs affecting the Adriatic regions, generally a cut-off low over the Tyrrhenian Sea induces intense Bora over the Adriatic basin. Low-level convergence triggers convection over the sea, while orographic uplift produces stratiform precipitation. The Adriatic Sea plays a critical role mainly through air-sea exchanges, which modify the characteristics of the flow and in turn the effect of the orographic forcing.

Mario Marcello Miglietta and Silvio Davolio

Status: open (until 20 Jul 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-206', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Jun 2021 reply

Mario Marcello Miglietta and Silvio Davolio

Mario Marcello Miglietta and Silvio Davolio

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Short summary
The major findings emerging from the HyMeX SOP1 campaign and in the subsequent research activity over the three Italian target areas is highlighted, by means of conceptual models and through the identification of the relevant recursive mesoscale features.