Meteorological and hydrological analysis of major floods in NE Iberian Peninsula
Pino González, David
Ruiz Bellet, Josep Lluís
Romero León, Laura
Tuset Mestre, Jordi
Barriendos i Vallvé, Mariano
Mazón Bueso, Jordi
Castelltort Aiguabella, F. Xavier
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This paper analyses the meteorological conditions and the specific peak flows of 24 catastrophic floods that affected NE Iberian Peninsula in the period 1842-2000. We classify these floods according to the affected area, peak flow magnitude, and damages. Additionally, the NOAA 6 Hourly 20th Century V2 Reanalysis Data Composites have been used to analyze the synoptic conditions during each flood and to evaluate several stability indices, such as the convective available potential energy (CAPE), or the lift index. We found a good correlation between stability indices and the season when the flood occurred. For instance, if maximum CAPE is considered, larger values are found for summer floods, moderate for autumn, and low values during winter floods. We select 5 representative episodes occurred in different seasons and areas to describe in detail the synoptic conditions and to show the temporal evolution of the stability indices. In one the summer floods analyzed in detail, the largest instability, according to all the convective indices, is found. On the contrary, the winter case shows very low values of the convective indices, and autumn cases lay in between. During the other analyzed summer flood instability was low but snow thaw played an important role in producing the flood. Regarding hydrological variables, clear differences between floods occurred at the coast or at the Pyrenees are found. Coastal specific peak flows are larger than Pyrenean ones, especially for small catchment areas. We also combine meteorological (rainfall duration, CAPE), hydrological (specific peak flow) and geomorphological (catchment area) variables to show that for many of the analyzed floods these variables are related: the specific peak flow generally shows larger values when CAPE is also large. However some differences appear depending on the season and area. In those summer floods, where snow thaw played doesn't played any role, either Pyrenean or coastal, specific peak flow seems to be correlated with CAPE. For autumn floods, depending on the area different correlations were found: Pyrenean floods seem to be a correlation between CAPE and specific peak flows, but not for coastal ones. For winter coastal floods we couldn't find any correlation between CAPE and specific peak flows.
Is part ofJournal of Hydrology, 2016, vol. 541, p. 63-89
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