The paradoxical increase of Mediterranean extreme daily rainfall in spite of decrease in total values

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Abstract

[1] Earlier reports indicated some specific isolated regions exhibiting a paradoxical increase of extreme rainfall in spite of decrease in the totals. Here, we conduct a coherent study of the full-scale of daily rainfall categories over a relatively large subtropical region- the Mediterranean- in order to assess whether this paradoxical behavior is real and its extent. We show that the torrential rainfall in Italy exceeding 128 mm/d has increased percentage-wise by a factor of 4 during 1951–1995 with strong peaks in El-Nino years. In Spain, extreme categories at both tails of the distribution (light: 0-4 mm/d and heavy/torrential: 64 mm/d and up) increased significantly. No significant trends were found in Israel and Cyprus. The consequent redistribution of the daily rainfall categories -torrential/heavy against the moderate/light intensities - is of utmost interest particularly in the semi-arid sub-tropical regions for purposes of water management, soil erosion and flash floods impacts.

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