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  • Author or Editor: Hervé Andrieu x
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Brice Boudevillain, Hervé Andrieu, and Nadine Chaumerliac

Abstract

A very short-term rainfall forecast model is tested on actual radar data. This model, called RadVil, takes advantages of voluminal radar data through vertically integrated liquid (VIL) water content measurements. The model is tested on a dataset collected during the intensive observation period of the Mesoscale Alpine Program (MAP). Five rain events have been studied during this experiment. The results confirm the interest of VIL for quantitative precipitation forecasting at very short lead time. The evaluation is carried out in qualitative and quantitative ways according to Nash and correlation criteria on forecasting times ranging from 10 to 90 min and spatial scales from 4 to 169 km2. It attempts to be consistent with the hydrological requirements concerning the rainfall forecasting, for instance, by taking account of the relation between the catchments' size, their response time, and the required forecasting time. Several versions of RadVil corresponding to several VIL measurement strategies have been tested. Improvements offered by RadVil depend on meteorological situations. They are related to the spatial and temporal evolution of the VIL field structure and the validity of the models assumptions. Finally, a relationship between the temporal structure of VIL fields and forecast quality is established.

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Alexis Berne, Guy Delrieu, Herve Andrieu, and Jean-Dominique Creutin

Abstract

The present study aims to demonstrate the major influence of the vertical heterogeneity of rainfall on radar–rain gauge assessment. For this purpose, an experimental setup was deployed during the HYDROMET Integrated Radar Experiment (HIRE-98) based on a conventional S-band weather radar operating at long range (90 km), an X-band vertically pointing radar, and a network of 25 tipping-bucket rain gauges. After calibration and attenuation corrections, the X-band radar data enables the estimation of the vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR) time series. Screening and VPR correction factors are derived for the distant S-band radar measurements. The raw and corrected S-band radar estimates are compared to rain gauge measurements for various integration time steps (6–30 min). Considering about 12 h of intense Mediterranean precipitation, the VPR influence at the X-band radar site is clear for all the time steps considered. For instance, a continuous increase in the Nash efficiency for the corrected radar data compared to the rain gauge data (0.85 for the 6-min time step, up to 0.93 for the 30-min time step) is observed while this criterion remains less than 0.15 for the raw radar data, regardless of the time step. The effect of the low-level reflectivity enhancement on the radar–rain gauge assessment was also found to be very important in the considered configuration. The establishment of reliable VPR climatologies is therefore a challenge in order to better account for such effects that are not observable at long range from the radars. The spatial validity of the VPR correction derived from a point sensor like the vertically pointing radar is also investigated. As a result of the high space–time variability of rainfall, such a punctual VPR correction has an efficiency limited to areas of about 20 km2 (200 km2) for the 6-min (30 min) integration time step.

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Thierry Pellarin, Guy Delrieu, Georges-Marie Saulnier, Hervé Andrieu, Bertrand Vignal, and Jean-Dominique Creutin

Abstract

A simulation procedure has been developed for use in predetermining the expected quality of rain-rate estimates that a given weather radar system operating in a mountainous region may obtain over a given hydrologic catchment. This first application of what is referred to as the “hydrologic visibility” concept focuses on the quantification of the rain-rate error resulting from the effects of ground clutter, beam blockage, and the vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR). The assessment of the impact of the space–time structure of the radar error in terms of discharge at the catchment outlet is also investigated using a distributed hydrologic model. A case study is presented for the Ardèche catchment in France using the parameters of two S-band weather radars operated by Météo-France at Nîmes and Bollène. Radar rain-rate error generation and rainfall–runoff simulations are performed using VPR and areal rainfall time series representative of the Cévennes rain climatology. The major impact of ground clutter on both rainfall and runoff estimates is confirmed. The “hydrologic compositing procedure,” based on the selection of the elevation angle minimizing the rain-rate error at a given point, is shown to be preferable to the “pseudo-CAPPI” procedure based on radar-range considerations only. An almost perfect ground-clutter reduction (GCR) technique is simulated in order to assess the effects of beam blockage and VPR alone. These error sources lead to severe and slight rain underestimations for the Nîmes and Bollène radars, respectively, over the Ardèche catchment. The results, indicating an amplification of the errors on the discharge parameters (peak discharge, runoff volume) compared to the areal rainfall error, are of particular interest. They emphasize the need for refined corrections for ground clutter, beam blockage, and VPR effects, in addition to the optimization of the radar location and scanning strategy, if hydrologic applications are foreseen.

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Guy Delrieu, John Nicol, Eddy Yates, Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter, Jean-Dominique Creutin, Sandrine Anquetin, Charles Obled, Georges-Marie Saulnier, Véronique Ducrocq, Eric Gaume, Olivier Payrastre, Hervé Andrieu, Pierre-Alain Ayral, Christophe Bouvier, Luc Neppel, Marc Livet, Michel Lang, Jacques Parent du-Châtelet, Andrea Walpersdorf, and Wolfram Wobrock

Abstract

The Cévennes–Vivarais Mediterranean Hydrometeorological Observatory (OHM-CV) is a research initiative aimed at improving the understanding and modeling of the Mediterranean intense rain events that frequently result in devastating flash floods in southern France. A primary objective is to bring together the skills of meteorologists and hydrologists, modelers and instrumentalists, researchers and practitioners, to cope with these rather unpredictable events. In line with previously published flash-flood monographs, the present paper aims at documenting the 8–9 September 2002 catastrophic event, which resulted in 24 casualties and an economic damage evaluated at 1.2 billion euros (i.e., about 1 billion U.S. dollars) in the Gard region, France. A description of the synoptic meteorological situation is first given and shows that no particular precursor indicated the imminence of such an extreme event. Then, radar and rain gauge analyses are used to assess the magnitude of the rain event, which was particularly remarkable for its spatial extent with rain amounts greater than 200 mm in 24 h over 5500 km2. The maximum values of 600–700 mm observed locally are among the highest daily records in the region. The preliminary results of the postevent hydrological investigation show that the hydrologic response of the upstream watersheds of the Gard and Vidourle Rivers is consistent with the marked space–time structure of the rain event. It is noteworthy that peak specific discharges were very high over most of the affected areas (5–10 m3 s−1 km−2) and reached locally extraordinary values of more than 20 m3 s−1 km−2. A preliminary analysis indicates contrasting hydrological behaviors that seem to be related to geomorphological factors, notably the influence of karst in part of the region. An overview of the ongoing meteorological and hydrological research projects devoted to this case study within the OHM-CV is finally presented.

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