Contribution of Moisture from Mediterranean Sea to Extreme Precipitation Events over Danube River Basin
Published: 04 September 2018
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In the most recent decades, central Europe and the Danube River Basin area have been affected by an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme daily rainfall, which has resulted in the more frequent occurrence of significant flood events. This study characterised the link between moisture from the Mediterranean Sea and extreme precipitation events, with varying lengths that were recorded over the Danube River basin between 1981 and 2015, and ranked the events with respect to the different time scales. The contribution of the Mediterranean Sea to the detected extreme precipitation events was then estimated using the Lagrangian FLEXPART dispersion model. Experiments were modelled in its forward mode, and particles leaving the Mediterranean Sea were tracked for a period of time determined with respect to the length of the extreme event. The top 100 extreme events in the ranking with durations of 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 days were analysed, and it was revealed that most of these events occurred in the winter. For extreme precipitation, positive anomalies of moisture support from the Mediterranean were found to be in the order of 80% or more, but this support reached 100% in summer and spring. The results show that extreme precipitation events with longer durations are more influenced by the extreme Mediterranean anomalous moisture supply than those with shorter lengths. However, it is during shorter events when the Mediterranean Sea contributes higher amounts of moisture compared with its climatological mean values; for longer events, this contribution decreases progressively (but still doubles the climatological moisture contribution from the Mediterranean Sea). Finally, this analysis provides evidence that the optimum time period for accumulated moisture to be modelled by the Lagrangian model is that for which the extreme event is estimated. In future studies, this fine characterisation could assist in modelling moisture contributions from sources in relation to individual extreme events.