Overview of the first HyMeX special observation period over Croatia
- Research and Development Department, Meteorological and Hydrological Service, Grič 3, 1000 Zagreb, Croatia
Abstract. The HYdrological cycle in the Mediterranean EXperiment (HyMeX) is intended to improve the capabilities of predicting high-impact weather events. Within its framework, the aim of the first special observation period (SOP1), 5 September to 6 November 2012, was to study heavy precipitation events and flash floods. Here, we present high-impact weather events over Croatia that occurred during SOP1. Particular attention is given to eight intense observation periods (IOPs), during which high precipitation occurred over the eastern Adriatic and Dinaric Alps. During the entire SOP1, the operational model forecasts generally well represented medium intensity precipitation, but heavy precipitation was frequently underestimated by the ALADIN model at an 8 km grid spacing and was overestimated at a higher resolution (2 km grid spacing). During IOP2, intensive rainfall occurred over a wider area around the city of Rijeka in the northern Adriatic. The short-range maximum rainfall totals were the largest ever recorded at the Rijeka station since the beginning of measurements in 1958. The rainfall amounts measured in intervals of 20, 30 and 40 min were exceptional, with return periods that exceeded a thousand, a few hundred and one hundred years, respectively. The operational precipitation forecast using the ALADIN model at an 8 km grid spacing provided guidance regarding the event but underestimated the rainfall intensity. An evaluation of numerical sensitivity experiments suggested that the forecast was slightly enhanced by improving the initial conditions through variational data assimilation. The operational non-hydrostatic run at a 2 km grid spacing using a configuration with the ALARO physics package further improved the forecast. This article highlights the need for an intensive observation period in the future over the Adriatic region to validate the simulated mechanisms and improve numerical weather predictions via data assimilation and model improvements in descriptions of microphysics and air–sea interactions.