Vertical structure and microphysical observations of winter precipitation in an inner valley during the Cerdanya-2017 field campaign

González, Sergi ; Bech, Joan ; Garcia-Benadí, Albert ; Udina, Mireia ; Codina, Bernat ; Trapero, Laura ; Paci, Alexandre ; Georgis, Jean-François

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<p align=justify>Precipitation processes at windward and leeward sides of the mountains have been object of study for many decades. Instead, inner mountain valleys, where usually most mountain population lives, have received considerably less attention. This article examines precipitation processes during a winter field campaign in an inner valley of the Pyrenees (NE Spain) using, among other instruments, a K-band vertically pointing Doppler radar (Micro Rain Radar) and a laser-based optical disdrometer (Parsivel). A decoupling is found between the stalled air of the valley and the air of the free atmosphere above the mountain crest level, evidenced by an increase of turbulence and spectral width of precipitation particles. Wind shear layer may promote riming and aggregation of the ice and snow particles. Two main rainfall regimes are found during the campaign: (1) stratiform rainfall mostly produced by water vapour deposition processes, although sometimes riming and aggregation become important, and (2) weak convection with slight dominance of collision-coalescence processes. Precipitation characteristics at the bottom of the valley show typical continental features such as low Liquid Water Content, despite the valley is only about 100 km from the sea. This study demonstrates that inner valley may present distinct precipitation features with respect to windward and leeward precipitation.</p>
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