What is it about?

This paper presents a new algorithm that enables to identify by which physical processes precipitation (rainfall and snowfall) is produced in climate models : convective precipitation (produced by cumulus coulds, generally associated with thunderstorms), stratiform precipitation (generally produced by large scale low pressure systems) ans orographic precipitation (that is produced when moist air meets a mountain range).

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Why is it important?

Theory and observations suggest that climate change impacts on precipitation will not be the same if precipitation is convective, stratiform or orographic. To compare these results with simulations, it is therefore crucial to be able to separate these categories in the output of high resolution climate models. Although other algorithms exist to do this task, this one is based on physical processes and it performs well over mountainous areas. In particular, it enables the detection of orographic precipitation.


I hope that the algorithm presented in this article will be useful for future studies focusing on precipitation and climate change, and that it will help to build better physical understanding of the impacts of global warming on precipitation.

Basile Poujol
Ecole Normale Superieure

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A physically based precipitation separation algorithm for convection‐permitting models over complex topography, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, December 2019, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/qj.3706.
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