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Implementation and evaluation of a convective/stratiform precipitation scheme in Attica region, Greece

Feloni, Elissavet G., Baltas, Evangelos A., Nastos, Panagiotis T., Matsangouras, Ioannis T.
Atmospheric research 2019 v.220 pp. 109-119
convection, floods, lightning, rain, rain gauges, rain intensity, storms, summer, time series analysis, uncertainty, urban areas, Greece, United Kingdom
Attica, which is the region with the largest population in Greece, suffers from numerous high rainfall intensity events inducing flash floods and, consequently, significant damages in the urbanized areas. High rainfall intensities are frequently connected with convection, a quiet often phenomenon during either the transitional seasons or the late summer thunderstorms. The objective of this paper is to implement and evaluate a stratiform-convective classification technique for the rainfall events occurred in Attica during the period 2005–2016. As this methodology requires only the precipitation records, the satisfactory evaluation of this classification approach allows further applications, such as, a climatological analysis regarding convective and stratiform trends in the study area and generally in Greece. Particularly, the rain gauge stations' records used correspond to 10-minute time series from 32 rainfall stations for the same period, and these data are analyzed and processed in order to fit a suitable exponential curve describing the stratiform component. A critical annual threshold of rainfall intensity in mm/6h is then calculated, separating the prevailing convective and stratiform regime above and below this value, respectively. The analysis is performed in three individual subareas of Attica region demarcated initially according to their morphological characteristics and subsequently by checking the cross-correlation for each pair of stations. This critical intensity threshold is determined for each year separately, in order to illustrate the uncertainty and the difficulty in identifying a standard threshold, as it is related to the annual behavior of precipitation. Using this threshold, a total of about 180 six-hour case events is detected as purely convective cases, however this number ranges for each subarea. For these cases, a further analysis is performed with the aim of verifying their convective character. Verification includes time-accurate lightning data, surface synoptic observations from the Hellenic National Meteorological Service and six-hour surface analysis charts from UK MetOffice. Findings, which are presented via indicative verification indices, show in general encouraging performance, considering the highly variable nature of convective precipitation which poses considerable problems in its identification with quite simple techniques.