Jetstream and rainfall distribution in the Mediterranean region
Abstract. This is a study on the impact of the jetstream in the Euro-Atlantic region on the rainfall distribution in the Mediterranean region; the study, based on data analysis, is restricted to the Mediterranean rainy season, which lasts from September to May. During this season, most of the weather systems originate over the Atlantic, and are carried towards the Mediterranean region by the westerly flow. In the upper troposphere of the Euro-Atlantic region this flow is characterized by two jets: the Atlantic jet, which crosses the ocean with a northeasterly tilt, and the African jet, which flows above the coast of North Africa. This study shows that the cross-jet circulation of the Atlantic jet favors storm activity in its exit region, while the cross-jet circulation of the African jet suppresses this kind of activity in its entrance region, with the 1st jet-stormtrack covariance mode explaining nearly 50% of the variability. It follows that the rainfall distribution downstream to these cross-jet circulations is strongly influenced by their relative positions. Specifically, in fall, rainfall is abundant in the western Mediterranean basin (WM), when the Atlantic jet is relatively strong but its northeasterly tilt is small, and the African jet is in its easternmost position. In winter, rainfall is abundant in the eastern Mediterranean basin (EM); this is when the Atlantic jet reaches the Scandinavian peninsula and the African jet is in its westernmost position. In spring, when the two jets weaken, the Atlantic jet retreats over the ocean, but the African jet stays in its winter position, rainfall is abundant in the Alpine region and in the Balkans. In addition, the covariance between precipitation and the jetstream has been evaluated. In fall, the latitudinal displacement of the Atlantic jet and the longitudinal displacement of the African jet modulate rainfall anomalies in the WM, with 38% explained covariance. In winter, the latitudinal displacement of the Atlantic jet produces rainfall anomalies in the western and central Mediterranean, with 45% explained covariance. In spring, the latitudinal displacement of the African jet produces rainfall anomalies, with 38% explained covariance.