Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
01 Mar 2004
01 Mar 2004

A methodology for the classification of convective structures using meteorological radar: Application to heavy rainfall events on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula

T. Rigo and M. C. Llasat

Abstract. During the period 1996–2000, forty-three heavy rainfall events have been detected in the Internal Basins of Catalonia (Northeastern of Spain). Most of these events caused floods and serious damage. This high number leads to the need for a methodology to classify them, on the basis of their surface rainfall distribution, their internal organization and their physical features. The aim of this paper is to show a methodology to analyze systematically the convective structures responsible of those heavy rainfall events on the basis of the information supplied by the meteorological radar. The proposed methodology is as follows. Firstly, the rainfall intensity and the surface rainfall pattern are analyzed on the basis of the raingauge data. Secondly, the convective structures at the lowest level are identified and characterized by using a 2-D algorithm, and the convective cells are identified by using a 3-D procedure that looks for the reflectivity cores in every radar volume. Thirdly, the convective cells (3-D) are associated with the 2-D structures (convective rainfall areas). This methodology has been applied to the 43 heavy rainfall events using the meteorological radar located near Barcelona and the SAIH automatic raingauge network.