Features of weather types involving heavy rainfall along the southern Spanish Mediterranean

José María Senciales-González, José D. Ruiz-Sinoga


Heavy rainfall events in the Mediterranean can be of high intensity, commonly exceeding 100 mm day-1, and have irregular spatio-temporal distribution. Such events can have significant impacts both on soils and human structures. The aim of this paper is to highlight a systematic comparison of synoptic conditions with heavy rainfall events in Mediterranean Southern Spain, assessing the weather types responsible for meteorological risk in specific locations of this mountainous region. To do this, we analyzed the maximum intensity of rainfall in observational periods ranging from 10 min to 24 h using a database from 132 rain gauge stations across the study area since 1943; then, the heavy rain has been associated with the weather type which triggers it. This analysis identified a pattern of heavy rainfall which differs from that previously reported in the Mediterranean area. Thus, in this research, the maximum number of heavy rainfall events uses to come from a dominant pattern of low pressures associated to front systems and East-Northeast winds; but the maximum volumes use to be associated to Cold Drops and the same winds; in addition, there are differences throughout the territory, showing several patterns and seasonal incidence when analyzing sub-zones, which may be related with different erosive conditions according to its position with respect to Atlantic or Mediterranean sea, and the entity of its relief.


Heavy rainfall; Mediterranean; Synoptic Weather Situation; Climate Change

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.4765

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