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Role of moisture patterns in the backbuilding formation of HyMeX IOP13 heavy precipitation systems

Abstract : Mediterranean regions are regularly affected by heavy convective precipitation. During the Hydrological Cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment Intensive Observation Period 13 (HyMeX-IOP13), the multi-platform observation strategy allowed analysing the backbuilding convective systems which developed on 14 October 2012 as well as the associated moisture structures in the environment upstream of convection. The numerical simulation at 2.5-km horizontal resolution succeeds in reproducing the location and time evolution of the observed heavy precipitation systems and the main characteristics of the marine air mass. Convection develops in Southeastern France over the foothills closest to the coast when a moist conditionally unstable marine boundary layer topped by particularly dry air masses is advected inland. Cold air formed by evaporative cooling under the precipitating cells flows down the valleys slowly shifting the location of the backbuilding convective cells from the mountainsides to the coast and over the sea. Surface observations confirm that these simulated backbuilding mechanisms describe realistically the processes involved in the maintenance of the heavy precipitation event. A lagrangian analysis shows that the moisture supply to the convective system is provided by the moist conditionally unstable marine boundary layer while the dry air masses above are involved in the cold pool formation. Four days before the event, both, the dry and the moist air masses, come from the Atlantic Ocean in the lower half of the troposphere. The dry air mass involved in the cold pool formation results from both the advection of mid-level air masses and the drying of low-level air masses lifted up over Spain. For the moist air mass feeding the backbuilding convective systems, most of the air parcels overpass France before travelling almost 48 hours in the lowest 1000m above the Mediterranean. About 50 % of the moisture supply to the precipitating system originates from the evaporation over the sea.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 9:12:53 AM
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Fanny Duffourg, K.-O. Lee, V. Ducrocq, Cyrille Flamant, Patrick Chazette, et al.. Role of moisture patterns in the backbuilding formation of HyMeX IOP13 heavy precipitation systems. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Wiley, 2018, 144 (710), pp.291-303. ⟨10.1002/qj.3201⟩. ⟨insu-01634372⟩



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