Articles | Volume 11, issue 1
Research article
13 Jan 2011
Research article |  | 13 Jan 2011

Atmospheric circulation patterns associated with strong wind events in Catalonia

J. C. Peña, M. Aran, J. Cunillera, and J. Amaro

Abstract. The benefit of having a daily synoptic weather type catalogue and even more, a detailed catalogue for high impact weather events is well recognised by both climatologist and meteorologist communities. In this way the Meteorological Service of Catalonia (SMC) has produced some accurate classifications for extreme events, such as hailstorms or strong winds (SW). Within the framework of the MEDEX project, the SMC has been collaborating to increase the level of awareness about these events. Following this line of work, the aim of this study is to characterise the SW events in Catalonia.

According to the guidelines of the MEDEX project we worked with its SW event database for the period June 1995 to May 2004. We also used the period 2005–2009 to test the methodology. The methodology is based on principal component, cluster and discriminant analyses and applied to four variables: SLP, temperature at 850 hPa and geopotential at 500 hPa on a synoptic-scale and local gust wind. We worked with ERA-Interim reanalysis and applied discriminant analysis to test the quality of the methodology and to classify the events of the validation period.

We found seven patterns for the SW events. The strongest event corresponds to NW-Flow with the Azores Anticyclone and the passing of a low pressure through the Pyrenees. This methodology has distinguished the summer events in an independent cluster. The results obtained encourage us to follow this line of work.