05 Apr 2022
05 Apr 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Meteorological, Impact and Climate perspectives of the 29 June 2017 Heavy Precipitation Event in the Berlin Metropolitan Area

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez1, Markus Augenstein1, Georgy Ayzel2, Klemens Barfus3, Ribu Cherian4, Lisa Dillenardt2, Felix Fauer5, Hendrik Feldmann1, Maik Heistermann2, Alexia Karwat6, Frank Kaspar7, Heidi Kreibich8, Etor Emanuel Lucio-Eceiza5,9, Edmund P. Meredith5, Susanna Mohr1,10, Deborah Niermann7, Stephan Pfahl5, Florian Ruff5, Henning W. Rust5, Lukas Schoppa2,8, Thomas Schwitalla11, Stella Steidl7, Annegret H. Thieken2, Jordis S. Tradowsky12,13, Volker Wulfmeyer11, and Johannes Quaas4 Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-TRO), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Universität Potsdam, Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Technische Universität Dresden, Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology, Pienner Straße 23, 01737 Tharandt, Germany
  • 4Institute for Meteorology, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • 5Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Meteorology, Carl-Heinrich-Becker-Weg 6-10, 12165 Berlin, Germany
  • 6Universität Hamburg, Meteorological Institute, Grindelberg 5, 20144 Hamburg, Germany
  • 7Deutscher Wetterdienst, Frankfurter Straße 135, 63067 Offenbach am Main
  • 8Section Hydrology, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 9Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum, Bundesstraße 45a, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 10Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 11Institute of Physics and Meteorology, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstrasse 30, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
  • 12Deutscher Wetterdienst, Regionales Klimabüro Potsdam, Güterfelder Damm 87-91 14532 Stahnsdorf, Germany
  • 13Bodeker Scientific, 42 Russell Street, Alexandra 9391, New Zealand

Abstract. Extreme precipitation is a weather phenomenon with tremendous damaging potential for property and human life. As the intensity and frequency of such events is projected to increase in a warming climate, there is an urgent need to advance the existing knowledge on extreme precipitation processes, statistics and impacts across scales. To this end, a working group within the German-based project ClimXtreme, has been established to carry out multidisciplinary analyses of high-impact events. In this work, we provide a comprehensive assessment of a selected case, affecting the Berlin metropolitan region (Germany) on 29 June 2017, from the meteorological, impacts and climate perspectives, additionally estimating the contribution of climate change to its extremeness. Our analysis shows that this event occurred under the influence of a mid-tropospheric trough over western Europe and two short-wave surface lows over Britain and Poland, inducing relevant low-level wind convergence along the German-Polish border. Several thousand convective cells were triggered in the early morning of 29 June, displacing northwards slowly under the influence of a weak tropospheric flow (10 m s-1 at 500 hPa). A very moist and warm southwesterly flow was present south of the cyclone over Poland, in the presence of moderate Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). We identified the soil in the Alpine-Slovenian region as the major moisture source for this case (63 % of identified sources). Maximum precipitation amounted to 196 mm d-1, causing the largest insured losses due to a heavy precipitation event in the period 2002 to 2017 (€60 Mill.) over the area. A household-level survey revealed that the inundation duration was 4 to 12 times larger than other surveyed events in Germany in 2005, 2010 and 2014. The climate analysis showed return periods of over 100 years for daily aggregated precipitation, and up to 100 years and 10 years for 8 h and 1 h aggregations, respectively. The event was the 29th most extreme event in the 1951–2021 climatology in terms of severity and the second with respect to the number of convective cells triggered from 2001 to 2020 over Germany. The conditional attribution demonstrated that warming since the pre-industrial era caused a small, but significant increase of 4 % in total precipitation and 10 % for extreme intensities. The aerosol sensitivity experiments showed that increased anthropogenic aerosols induce larger cloud cover and probability of extreme precipitation (> 150 mm d-1). Our analysis allowed relating interconnected aspects of extreme precipitation. For instance, the link between the unique meteorological conditions of this case and its climate extremeness, or the extent to which this is attributable to already-observed anthropogenic climate change.

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2022-96', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2022-96', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Jun 2022

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.


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Short summary
In a warming climate, extreme precipitation events are becoming more frequent. To advance our knowledge on such phenomena we present a multidisciplinary analysis of a selected case study that took place on 29 June 2017 in the Berlin metropolitan area. Our analysis provides evidence of the extremeness of the case from the atmospheric and the impacts perspectives as well as new insights on the physical mechanisms of the event at the meteorological and climate scales.