Synoptic and mesoscalar environments associated with the heavy local rainfall on 16 August 2010 in the south of the Iberian Peninsula

DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2014.11.02

Tethys no. 11 pp.: 13 - 23


In this paper we show the synoptic and mesoscale environment aspects associated with a local event of heavy rainfall in the south of the Iberian Peninsula on 16 August 2010, exceeding 200 mm in 5 hours and causing significant flash flooding, by using observational data and operational analyses and forecast data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The event was associated with the poleward transport of deep tropical moisture along the western flank of the upper and middle level summer anticyclone over North Africa, and with a mid-level cyclogenesis caused by the interaction between a middle latitude trough and the tropical moisture band. The cyclogenesis produced an outflow jet streak and the exportation of tropical moisture to the Iberian Peninsula. On the synoptic scale, the heavy precipitation occurred where this tropical moisture intersected a region of forced ascent situated beneath the equatorward jet streak-entrance region. On the mesoscale, the event was focused on a zone of orographic wind convergence.


  • - Augustine, J. A. and Caracena, F., 1994: Lower-tropospheric precursors to nocutnral MCS development over the Central United States, Wea Forecasting, 9, 116–135.
  • - Bosart, L. F. and Lackmann, G. M., 1995: Postlandfall tropical cyclone reintensification in a weakly baroclinic environment: A case study of Hurricane David (September 1979), MonWea Rev, 123, 3268–3291, doi: 10.1175/1520-0493(1995)123%3C3268:PTCRIA%3E2.0.CO;2.
  • - Browning, K. A., Thorpe, A. J., Montani, A., Parsons, D., Griffiths, M., Panagi, P., and Dicks, E. M., 2000: Interactions of tropopause depressions with an ex-tropical cyclone and sensitivity of forecasts to analysis errors, Mon Wea Rev, 128, 2734–2755, doi: 10.1175/1520-0493(2000)128%3C2734:IOTDWA%3E2.0.CO;2.
  • - Font, I., 1983: Climatología de España y Portugal, Instituto Nacional de Meteorología, Madrid, 296 pp.
  • - Galarneau, T. J., Bosart, L. F., and Schumacher, R. S., 2010: Predecessor rain events ahead of tropical cyclones, Mon Wea Rev, 138, 3272–3297, doi: 10.1175/2010MWR3243.1.
  • - Garía-Dana, F., Font, R., and Rivera, A., 1982: Situación meteorológica durante el episodio de lluvia intensa en el levante español durante octubre de 1982, Instituto Nacional de Meteorología, Apartado 285, E-28071 Madrid, Spain, 68 pp.
  • - Glass, F. H., Ferry, D. L., Moore, J. T., and Nolan, S. M., 1995: Characteristics of Heavy Convective Rainfall Events Across the Mid-Mississippi Valley During the Warm Season: Meteorological Conditions and a Conceptual Model, Preprints, 14th Conf. on Wea. Analysis and Forecasting, Dallas, TX, 34-41.
  • - Maddox, R. A., Chappell, C. F., and Hoxit, L. R., 1979: Synoptic and meso-scale aspects of flash flood events, Bull Amer Meteor Soc, 60, 115–123.
  • - Martinez, C., Campins, J., Jansà, A., and Genovés, A., 2008: Heavy rain events in the Mediterranean: an atmospheric pattern classification, Adv Sci Res, 2, 61–64, doi: 10.5194/asr-2-61-2008.
  • - Miller, M., Buizza, R., Haseler, J., Hortal, M., Janssen, P., and Untch, A., 2010: Increased resolution in the ECMWF deterministic and ensemble prediction systems, ECMWF Newsletter No. 124.
  • - Moore, J. T., Glass, F. H., Graves, C. E., Rochette, S. M., and Singer, M. J., 2003: The environment of warm-season elevated thunderstorms associated with heavy rainfall over the central United States, Wea Forecast, 18, 861–878, doi: 10.1175/1520-0434(2003)018%3C0861:TEOWET%3E2.0.CO;2.
  • - Schumacher, R. S. and Johnson, R. H., 2005: Organization and environmental properties of extreme-rain-producing mesoscale convective systems, Mon Wea Rev, 133, 961–976, doi: 10.1175/MWR2899.1.
  • - Schumacher, R. S. and Johnson, R. H., 2006: Characteristics of U.S. extreme rain events during 1999-2003, Wea Forecast, 21, 69–85, doi: 10.1175/WAF900.1.
  • - Schumacher, R. S., Schultz, D. M., and Knox, J. A., 2010: Convective snowbands downstream of the rocky mountains in an environment with conditional, dry symmetric, and inertial instabilities, Mon Wea Rev, 138, 4416–4438, doi: 10.1175/2010MWR3334.1.
  • - Simmons, A. J., Burridge, D. M., Jarraud, M., Girard, C., and Wergen, W., 1989: The ECMWF medium-range prediction model: Development of the numerical formulations and the impact of increased resolution, Meteorol Atmos Phys, 40, 28–60, doi: 10.1007/BF01027467.
  • - Trier, S. B., Davis, C. A., Ahijevych, D. A., Weisman, M. L., and Bryan, G. H., 1996: Mechanisms Supporting Long-Lived Episodes of Propagating Nocturnal Convection within a 7-Day WRF Model Simulation, J Atmos Sci, 63, 2437–2461, doi: 10.1175/JAS3768.1.
  • - Uccellini, L. W. and Johnson, D. R., 1979: The coupling of upper and lower tropospheric jet streaks and implications for the development of severe convective storms, Mon Wea Rev, 107, 682–703, doi: 10.1175/1520-0493(1979)107%3C0682:TCOUAL%3E2.0.CO;2.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Indexed in Scopus, Thomson-Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scientific Commons, Latindex, Google Scholar, DOAJ, ICYT (CSIC)

Partially funded through grants CGL2007-29820-E/CLI, CGL2008-02804-E/, CGL2009-07417-E and CGL2011-14046-E of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation