Multi-day hail clusters and isolated hail days in Switzerland – large-scale flow conditions and precursors

Barras, Hélène; Martius, Olivia; Nisi, Luca; Schroeer, Katharina; Hering, Alessandro; Germann, Urs (2021). Multi-day hail clusters and isolated hail days in Switzerland – large-scale flow conditions and precursors (Submitted). Weather and Climate Dynamics 10.5194/wcd-2021-25

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In Switzerland, hail regularly occurs in multi-day hail clusters. The atmospheric conditions prior to and during multi-day hail clusters are described and contrasted to the conditions prior to and during isolated hail days. The analysis focuses on hail days that occurred between April and September 2002–2019 within 140 km of the Swiss radar network. Hail days north and south of the Alps are defined using a minimum area threshold of a radar-based hail product. Multi-day clusters are defined as 5-day windows containing 4 or 5 hail days and isolated hail days as 5-day windows containing a single hail day. The reanalysis ERA-5 is used to study the large-scale flow in combination with objectively identified cold fronts, atmospheric blocking events, and a weather type classification. Both north and south of the Alps, isolated hail days have frequency maxima in May and August-September whereas clustered hail days occur mostly in July and August. Composites of atmospheric variables indicate a more stationary and meridionally amplified atmospheric flow both north and south of the Alps during multi-day hail clusters. On clustered hail days north of the Alps, blocks are more frequent over the North Sea, and surface fronts are located farther from Switzerland than on isolated hail days. Clustered hail days north of the Alps are also characterized by significantly higher convective available potential energy (CAPE) values, warmer daily maximum surface temperatures, and higher atmospheric moisture content than isolated hail days. Hence, both stationary flow conditions and anomalous amounts of moisture are necessary for multi-day hail clusters on the north side. In contrast, differences in CAPE on the south side between clustered hail days and isolated hail days are small. The mean sea level pressure south of the Alps is significantly deeper, the maximum temperature is colder, and local moisture is significantly lower on isolated hail days. Both north and south of the Alps, the upper-level atmospheric flow over the eastern Atlantic is meridionally more amplified three days prior to clustered hail days than prior to isolated days. Moreover, Moreover blocking occurs prior to more than 10 % of clustered hail days over Scandinavia, but no blocks occur prior to isolated hail days. Half of the clustered hail days south of the Alps are also clustered north of the Alps. On hail days clustering only south of the Alps, fronts are more frequently located on the Alpine ridge, and local low- level winds are stronger. The temporal clustering of hail days is coupled to specific synoptic- and local- scale flow conditions, this information may be exploited for short to medium-range forecasts of hail in Switzerland.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Impact
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Barras, Hélène Christine Louise and Romppainen-Martius, Olivia

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

2698-4016

Projects:

[245] Mobiliar Lab für Naturrisiken Official URL

Language:

English

Submitter:

Yannick Barton

Date Deposited:

21 Jul 2021 19:11

Last Modified:

21 Jul 2021 19:11

Publisher DOI:

10.5194/wcd-2021-25

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/157398

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/157398

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