Orographic signature on extreme precipitation of short durations

Avanzi, Francesco; De Michele, Carlo; Gabriele, Salvatore; Ghezzi, Antonio; Rosso, Renzo, 2015, Orographic signature on extreme precipitation of short durations, Journal of hydrometeorology (Online) 6 (2015): 278–294. doi_10.1175/JHM-D-14-0063.1,
URL: http://www.cnr.it/prodotto/i/310001

This paper investigates how atmospheric circulation and orography affect the spatial variability of extreme precipitation in terms of depth-duration-frequency (DDF) curve parameters. To this aim, the Italian territory was considered because it is characterized by a complex orography and different precipitation dynamics and regimes. A database of 1494 time series with more than 20 years of maximum annual precipitation data was collected for the durations of 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 h. For each data series, the parameters of DDF curves were estimated using a statistical simple scale invariance model. Hence, the combined effect of orography and atmospheric fields on parameter variability was investigated considering the spatial distribution of the parameters and their relation with elevation. The vertically integrated atmospheric moisture flux J was used as a measurement of the principal direction of the vapor transport at a given location. The analysis highlights the variability of DDF parameters and quantiles according to orography and precipitation climatology. This is confirmed by the evaluation of J modal direction over the study area. The variability of DDF parameters with mere elevation shows that maxima at high elevations seem to be upper bounded and more variable than those at lower elevations. Moreover, the mean of maximum annual precipitation of unit duration decreases with elevation. This last phenomenon is defined as "reverse orographic effect" on extreme precipitation of short durations.

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