Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
22 May 2008
 | 22 May 2008

Heavy rain events in the Western Mediterranean: an atmospheric pattern classification

C. Martínez, J. Campins, A. Jansà, and A. Genovés

Abstract. Heavy rain is one of the most important high-impact weather phenomena that occasionally affect Mediterranean areas. The aim of this study is to achieve a classification of atmospheric patterns related to heavy rain events in both French and Spanish Mediterranean regions. The classification is made on some atmospheric fields (geopotential at 1000 hPa and at 500 hPa and temperature at 850 hPa) of HIRLAM-INM-0.5° operational analysis, for heavy rain events included in the High Impact Weather MEDEX database. It covers a period of roughly 7 and a half years, from January 1997 to May 2004. A Principal Components Analysis was conducted to reduce the number of variables. After that, by means of a Cluster Analysis, the heavy rain events are classified into 8 atmospheric patterns. The results show a good relationship between regions affected by heavy rain and atmospheric patterns, in the sense that the same atmospheric patterns usually produce heavy rain in different regions, and heavy rain in different regions is usually due to specific atmospheric patterns.