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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-374
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-374
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 10 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Intra-annual variability of the Western Mediterranean Oscillation (WeMO) and occurrence of extreme torrential rainfall in Catalonia (NE Iberia)

Joan Albert Lopez-Bustins1, Laia Arbiol-Roca1, Javier Martin-Vide1, Antoni Barrera-Escoda2, and Marc Prohom1,2 Joan Albert Lopez-Bustins et al.
  • 1Climatology Group, Department of Geography, University of Barcelona (UB), Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Department of Climatology, Meteorological Service of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. In previous studies the Western Mediterranean Oscillation index (WeMOi) at daily resolution has proven to constitute an effective tool for analysing the occurrence of episodes of torrential rainfall over eastern Spain. The Western Mediterranean region is therefore a very sensitive area, since climate change can enhance these weather extremes. In the present study we selected the extreme torrential episodes (≥ 200 mm in 24 hours) that took place in Catalonia (NE Iberia) during the 1951–2016 study period (66 years). We computed daily WeMOi values and constructed WeMOi calendars. Our principal results reveal the occurrence of 50 episodes (0.8 cases per year), mainly concentrated in the autumn months. We inferred a threshold of WeMOi ≤ −2 to define an extreme negative WeMO phase at daily resolution. Most of the 50 episodes (60 %) in the study area occurred on days presenting an extreme negative WeMOi value. Specifically, the most negative WeMOi values are detected in autumn, during the second 10-day period of October (11th–20th), coinciding with the highest frequency of extreme torrential events. On comparing the subperiods, we observed a statistically significant decrease in WeMOi values in all months, particularly in late October, and in November and December. No changes in the frequency of these extreme torrential episodes were observed between both subperiods; in contrast, a displacement of the episodes is detected from early to late autumn.

Joan Albert Lopez-Bustins et al.
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Joan Albert Lopez-Bustins et al.
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Short summary
The Western Mediterranean Oscillation index (WeMOi) at daily resolution has proven to constitute an effective tool for analysing the occurrence of episodes of torrential rainfall over eastern Spain. In the present study we selected the extreme torrential episodes (≥ 200 mm/24 h) that took place in Catalonia (NE Iberia) during the 1951–2016 study period. We computed daily WeMOi values and constructed WeMOi calendars. Principal results reveal the occurrence of 50 episodes, are concentrated in autumn.
The Western Mediterranean Oscillation index (WeMOi) at daily resolution has proven to constitute...
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