Topography and recent winter rainfall regime change in temperate Western European areas: a case study in the Rhine-Meuse basin

Authors

  • Drogue Gilles,

    1. Environment and Biotechnologies Research Unit, Public Research Center-Gabriel Lippmann, 41, rue du Brill, L-4422 Belvaux, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
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  • Wagner Christian,

    1. Environment and Biotechnologies Research Unit, Public Research Center-Gabriel Lippmann, 41, rue du Brill, L-4422 Belvaux, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
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  • Mahr Nicole,

    1. Centre de Géochimie de la Surface/EOST UMR 7517, 1 rue Blessig F-67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France
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  • Hoffmann Lucien,

    1. Environment and Biotechnologies Research Unit, Public Research Center-Gabriel Lippmann, 41, rue du Brill, L-4422 Belvaux, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
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  • Pfister Laurent

    Corresponding author
    1. Environment and Biotechnologies Research Unit, Public Research Center-Gabriel Lippmann, 41, rue du Brill, L-4422 Belvaux, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
    • Public Research Center-Gabriel Lippmann, Environment and Biotechnologies Research Unit, Luxembourg
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Abstract

Earlier trend analyses on rainfall series have clearly shown that the winter rainfall regime has changed since World War II over Northwestern Europe as a consequence of an enhanced westerly atmospheric circulation. However, few studies have been conducted on the potential link between the spatial variability of winter rainfall regime change and the topography. In the present study, a time series analysis of winter rainfall due to atmospheric westerly fluxes is performed and related to the topography of the middle Rhine-Meuse area. The resulting geographical patterns show a zonal anisotropism of the winter rainfall regime change implying an intensification of horizontal rainfall gradients. More contrasted westerly winter rainfall amounts are observed in mountainous areas during the post-1979 period following the changing-point year of atmospheric circulation over Northwestern Europe. Copyright © 2006 Royal Meteorological Society.

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