Articles | Volume 15, issue 11
Review article
20 Nov 2015
Review article |  | 20 Nov 2015

Review Article: Atmospheric conditions inducing extreme precipitation over the eastern and western Mediterranean

U. Dayan, K. Nissen, and U. Ulbrich

Abstract. This review discusses published studies of heavy rainfall events over the Mediterranean Basin, combining them in a more general picture of the dynamic and thermodynamic factors and processes that produce heavy rain storms. It distinguishes the western and eastern Mediterranean in order to point out specific regional peculiarities. The crucial moisture for developing intensive convection over these regions can be originated not only from the adjacent Mediterranean Sea but also from distant upwind sources. Transport from remote sources is usually in the mid-tropospheric layers and associated with specific features and patterns of the larger-scale circulations. The synoptic systems (tropical and extratropical) that account for most of the major extreme precipitation events and the coupling of circulation and extreme rainfall patterns are presented. Heavy rainfall over the Mediterranean Basin is caused at times in concert by several atmospheric processes working at different atmospheric scales, such as local convection, upper synoptic-scale-level troughs, and mesoscale convective systems. Under tropical air-mass intrusions, convection generated by static instability seems to play a more important role than synoptic-scale vertical motions. Locally, the occurrence of torrential rains and their intensity is dependent on factors such as temperature profiles and implied instability, atmospheric moisture, and lower-level convergence.

Short summary
This review discusses published studies analyzing the atmospheric conditions that induce extreme precipitation over the eastern and western Mediterranean regions. It presents a systematic description of the interlacing role of several atmospheric processes of different scales - local, meso, and synoptic - that enable the development of torrential rains.
Final-revised paper