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The Contribution of Orographically Driven Banded Precipitation to the Rainfall Climatology of a Mediterranean Region

Abstract : Studies carried out worldwide show that topography influences rainfall climatology. As in most western Mediterranean regions, the mountainous Cévennes-Vivarais area in France regularly experiences extreme precipitation that may lead to devastating flash floods. Global warming could further aggravate this situation, but this possibility cannot be confirmed without first improving the understanding of the role of topography in the regional climate and, in particular, for extreme rainfall events. This paper focuses on organized banded rainfall and evaluates its contribution to the rainfall climatology of this region. Stationary rainfall systems made up of such bands are triggered and enhanced by small-scale interactions between the atmospheric flow and the relief. Rainbands are associated with shallow convection and are also present in deep-convection events for specific flux directions. Such precipitation patterns are difficult to observe both with operational weather radar networks, which are not designed to observe low-level convection within complex terrain, and with rain gauge networks, for which gauge spacing is typically larger than the bandwidth. A weather class of banded orographic shallow-convection events is identified, and the contribution of such events to annual or seasonal precipitation over the region is assessed. Moreover, a method is also proposed to quantify the contribution of banded convection during specific deep-convection events. It is shown that even though these orographically driven banded precipitation events produce moderate precipitation intensities they have long durations and therefore represent a significant amount of the rainfall climatology of the region, producing up to 40% of long-term total precipitation at certain locations.
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A. Godart, S. Anquetin, E. Leblois, J.D. Creutin. The Contribution of Orographically Driven Banded Precipitation to the Rainfall Climatology of a Mediterranean Region. Journal of applied Meteorology Climatology, 2011, 50 (11), pp.2235-2246. ⟨10.1175/JAMC-D-10-05016.1⟩. ⟨insu-00648387⟩

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