Proposal of three thermodynamic variables to discriminate between storms associated with hail and storms with intense rainfall in Catalonia


DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2013.10.03

pp.: 25 - 34


Between late spring and early fall, the development of storms is common in Catalonia. Despite the fact that they usually produce heavy showers of short duration, they can also involve severe weather with ice pellets or hail. While the latter usually affect inland regions, and there are numerous publications on these cases; the analysis of events affecting the coast and causing damage to public and private properties is not so well developed. The aim of this study is to provide additional thermodynamic indicators that help differentiate storms with hail from storms without hail, considering cases that have affected various regions of Catalonia, mainly coastal areas. The aim is to give more information to improve prognosis and the ability to detail information in these situations. The procedure developed involved the study of several episodes of heavy rainfall and hail that hit Catalonia during the 2003-2009 period, mainly in the province of Girona, and validated the proposal during the campaign of late summer and fall of 2009, as well as 2012. For each case, several variables related to temperature, humidity and wind were analyzed at different levels of the atmosphere, while the information provided by the radio sounding in Barcelona was also taken into account. From this study, it can be concluded that the temperature difference between 500 hPa and 850 hPa, the humidity in the lower layers of the atmosphere and the LI index are good indicators for the detection of storms with associated hail.


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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