Publications by Year: 2012

Tarolli P, Borga M, Morin E, Delrieu G. Analysis of flash flood regimes in the North-Western and South-Eastern Mediterranean regions. Natural Hazards and Earth System Science [Internet]. 2012;12 :1255–1265. Publisher's VersionAbstract
ak data, catchment area and occurrence date for 99 events (69 from the North-Western region and 30 from the South-Eastern region). Analysis is carried out in terms of relationship of flood peaks with catchment area and sea- sonality. Results show that the envelope curve for the South- Eastern region exhibits a more pronounced decreasing with catchment size with respect to the curve of the North-Western region. The differences between the two relationships reflect changes in the effects of storm coverage and hydrological characteristics between the two regions. Seasonality analy- sis shows that the events in the North-Western region tend to occur between August and November, whereas those in the South-Eastern area tend to occur in the period between October and May, reflecting the relevant patterns in the syn- optic conditions leading to the intense precipitation events. In the second part, the focus is on the rainfall-runoff rela- tionships for 13 selected major flash flood events (8 from the North-Western area and 5 from the South-Eastern area) for which rainfall and runoff properties are available. These flash floods are characterised in terms of climatic features of the impacted catchments, duration and amount of the gener- ating rainfall, and runoff ratio. Results show that the rainfall duration is shorter and the rainfall depth lower in the South- Eastern region. The runoff ratios are rather low in both re- gions, whereas they are more variable in the South-Eastern area. No clear relationship between runoff ratio and rainfall depth is observed in the sample of floods, showing the major influence of rainfall intensity and the initial wetness condi- tion in the runoff generation for these events.
Flaounas E, Drobinski P, Borga M, Calvet J-C, Delrieu G, Morin E, Tartari G, Toffolon R. Assessment of gridded observations used for climate model validation in the Mediterranean region: the HyMeX and MED-CORDEX framework. Environmental Research Letters [Internet]. 2012;7 :024017. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This letter assesses the quality of temperature and rainfall daily retrievals of the European Climate Assessment and Dataset (ECA&D) with respect to measurements collected locally in various parts of the Euro-Mediterranean region in the framework of the Hydrological Cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX), endorsed by the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP). The ECA&D, among other gridded datasets, is very often used as a reference for model calibration and evaluation. This is for instance the case in the context of the WCRP Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) and its Mediterranean declination MED-CORDEX. This letter quantifies ECA&D dataset uncertainties associated with temperature and precipitation intra-seasonal variability, seasonal distribution and extremes. Our motivation is to help the interpretation of the results when validating or calibrating downscaling models by the ECA&D dataset in the context of regional climate research in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Peleg N, Morin E. Convective rain cells: Radar-derived spatiotemporal characteristics and synoptic patterns over the eastern Mediterranean. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres [Internet]. 2012;117 :1–17. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper examines the spatiotemporal characteristics of convective rain cells over the eastern Mediterranean (northern Israel) and their relationship to synoptic patterns. Information on rain cell features was extracted from high-resolution weather radar data. The radar-gauge adjustment, validation, cell segmentation and tracking techniques are discussed at length at the beginning of the paper. Convective rain cells were clustered into three synoptic types (two winter lows—deep Cyprus lows and shallow lows—and one tropical intrusion, Active Red Sea Trough) using several NCEP/NCAR parameters, and empirical distributions were computed for their spatial and temporal features. In the study region, it was found that the Active Red Sea Trough rain cells are larger, live for less time and possess lower rain intensities than the rain cells generated by the winter lows. The Cyprus low rain cells were found to be less intense and slightly larger on average than the shallow low rain cells. It was further discovered that the preferential orientation of the rain cells is associated with the direction and velocity of the wind. The effect of distance from the coastline was also examined. An increase in the number and area of the rain cells near the coastline was observed, presumably due to the sea breeze convection. The mean rainfall intensity was found to peak near the shore and decrease with distance inland. This information is of great importance for understanding rain patterns and can be further applied in exploring the hydrological responses of the basins in this region
Grodek T, Jacoby Y, Morin E, Katz O. Effectiveness of exceptional rainstorms on a small Mediterranean basin. Geomorphology [Internet]. 2012;159-160 :156–168. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A comprehensive investigation of rainstorms and their consequent impacts on landscape evolution is geomorphologically important, but only scant information may be available on exceptional events, because parameters on synoptic conditions, rainstorm, landforms and hydrology for such events may be incomparable with previous knowledge. We studied an exceptional storm on April 2, 2006, in the Ramot Menashe region, Israel. Our investigation of rainfall, landslides, debris flows and channel suggests the effectiveness of such an event on the development of basin-scale morphology. The storm caused damage and casualties although it covered relatively narrow strips. Neither direct rainfall nor runoff measurements exist for the most severely affected area of Ramot Menashe, but the geomorphologic evidence combined with high-resolution meteorological radar data provides the basic understanding of the processes and hazardous conditions which prevailed at the time. In the storm core, based on estimation from meteorological radar data, 263mm of rain fell within 3h with a maximum intensity of 220mmh -1 for 10min, triggering both sporadic landslides at the soil/bedrock contact on the upper slopes and widespread landslides at the fractured/massive bedrock contact on the lower slopes. The 1st order channels on the alternation of chalk and marl also underwent erosion, and the produced sediment deposited on alluvial fans at the confluence with the main channel. The specific peak discharges for catchment size of 0.3-10km 2 were 11 to 73m 3s -1km -2, higher than any recorded floods in the Mediterranean climatic region of Israel. The effectiveness of the flood for geomorphic work, represented by shear stress and stream power per unit boundary area reached 87-398Nm -2 and 212-2134Wm -2, respectively. This kind of analysis can be applied to hazard prediction in other areas under similar geomorphological conditions. ?? 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Morin E, Yakir H. The flooding potential of convective rain cells. IAHS Publ. [Internet]. 2012;351 :607–613. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Flash floods caused by convective rain storms are highly sensitive to the space–time character- istics of rain cells. In this study we exploit the high space–time resolution of the radar data to study the characteristics of the rain cells and their impact on flash flood magnitudes. A rain cell model is applied to the radar data of an actual storm and the rain fields represented by the model further serve as input into a hydrological model. Global sensitivity analysis is applied to identify the most important factors affecting the flash flood peak discharge. As a case study we tested an extreme storm event over a semi-arid catchment in southern Israel. The rain cell model was found to simulate the rain storm adequately. We found that relatively small changes in the rain cell's location, speed and direction could cause a three-fold increase in flash flood peak discharge at the catchment outlet.
Peleg N, Morin E, Gvirtzman H, Enzel Y. Rainfall, spring discharge and past human occupancy in the Eastern Mediterranean. Climatic Change [Internet]. 2012;112 :769–789. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In ancient times human activities were tightly related and sensitive to rainfall amounts and seasonal distribution. East Mediterranean settlements were concentrated around numerous small to large springs, such as the Judean Mountains area. The goals of this study were to determine (a) the sensitivity of total discharge, recession curve, and response time of such springs to annual precipitation patterns, and (b) how spring hydrology responds to series of drought or wet years and to transitions from drought to normal and/or wet episodes (and vice versa). These goals were achieved by setting a finite-element hydro-geological flow model for selected perched springs that characterize the numerous springs throughout the carbonate karst terrain in the Judean Mountains. In addition, we estimated the effect of proposed regional past climate changes on the springs; in so doing, we transfer climate change to community size, livelihood and economic strength that were highly dependent on agricultural productivity. The results of the hydro-geological model revealed that these mountainous communities had the potential to prosper during historically wetter episodes and were probably adapted to short-term variability in annual rainfall. However, moderate to extreme droughts lasting only a few years could have led to a partial or even total abandonment of the springs as focal sites of intensive agricultural production. Spring drying eliminated the primary cause for the location of settlement. This occurred simultaneously in numerous settlements around the mountains of the southern Levant and therefore, must have caused dramatic economic and societal changes in the entire region, perhaps even resonating afar.