Prior history of Mistral and Tramontane winds modulates heavy precipitation events in southern France - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Tellus A Year : 2014

Prior history of Mistral and Tramontane winds modulates heavy precipitation events in southern France

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Abstract

Heavy precipitation events (HPEs) are frequent in southern France in autumn. An HPE results from landward transport of low-level moisture from the Western Mediterranean: large potential instability is then released by local convergence and/or orography. In the upstream zone, the sea surface temperature (SST) undergoes significant variations at the submonthly time scale primarily driven by episodic highly energetic events of relatively cold outflows from the neighbouring mountain ranges (the Mistral and Tramontane winds). Here, we study the HPE of 22–23 September 1994 which is preceded by a strong SST cooling due to the Mistral and Tramontane winds. This case confirms that the location of the precipitation is modulated by the SST in the upstream zone. In fact, changes in latent and sensible heat fluxes due to SST changes induce pressure and stratification changes which affect the low-level dynamics. Using three companion regional climate simulations running from 1989 to 2009, this article statistically shows that anomalies in the HPEs significantly correlate with the SST anomalies in the Western Mediterranean, and hence with the prior history of Mistral and Tramontane winds. In such cases, the role of the ocean as an integrator of the effect of past wind events over one or several weeks does indeed have an impact on HPEs in southern France.
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hal-01130284 , version 1 (30-04-2016)

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Ségolène Berthou, Sylvain Mailler, Philippe Drobinski, Thomas Arsouze, Sophie Bastin, et al.. Prior history of Mistral and Tramontane winds modulates heavy precipitation events in southern France. Tellus A, 2014, 66, pp.24064. ⟨10.3402/tellusa.v66.24064⟩. ⟨hal-01130284⟩
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