Exploring the Impact of Land Cover and Topography on Rainfall Maxima in the Netherlands

H.W. Ter Maat, E.J. Moors, R.W.A. Hutjes, A. Holtslag, A.J. Dolman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The relative contribution of topography and land use on precipitation is analyzed in this paper for a forested area in the Netherlands. This area has an average yearly precipitation sum that can be 75-100 mmhigher than the rest of the country. To analyze this contribution, different configurations of land use and topography are fed into a mesoscale model. The authors use the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) coupled with a land surface scheme simulating water vapor, heat, and momentum fluxes [Soil-Water-Atmosphere Plant System-Carbon (SWAPS-C)]. The model simulations are executed for two periods that cover varying large-scale synoptic conditions of summer and winter periods. The output of the experiments leads to the conclusion that the precipitation maximum at the Veluwe is forced by topography and land use. The effect of the forested area on the processes that influence precipitation is smaller in summertime conditions when the precipitation has a convective character. In frontal conditions, the forest has a more pronounced effect on local precipitation through the convergence of moisture. The effect of topography on monthly domainaveraged precipitation around the Veluwe is a 17% increase in the winter and a 10% increase in the summer, which is quite remarkable for topography with a maximum elevation of just above 100 m and moderate steepness. From this study, it appears that the version of RAMS using Mellor-Yamada turbulence parameterization simulates precipitation better in wintertime, but the configuration with themediumrange forecast (MRF) turbulence parameterization improves the simulation of precipitation in convective circumstances. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-542
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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