Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 1567–1577, 2013

Special issue: 13th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms: disasters...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 1567–1577, 2013

Research article 19 Jun 2013

Research article | 19 Jun 2013

Coupled atmosphere ocean climate model simulations in the Mediterranean region: effect of a high-resolution marine model on cyclones and precipitation

A. Sanna1, P. Lionello1,2, and S. Gualdi1,3 A. Sanna et al.
  • 1CMCC, viale Aldo Moro 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy
  • 2Unisalento, S.P. 6, Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
  • 3INGV, via Donato Creti 12, 40128 Bologna, Italy

Abstract. In this study we investigate the importance of an eddy-permitting Mediterranean Sea circulation model on the simulation of atmospheric cyclones and precipitation in a climate model. This is done by analyzing results of two fully coupled GCM (general circulation models) simulations, differing only for the presence/absence of an interactive marine module, at very high-resolution (~ 1/16°), for the simulation of the 3-D circulation of the Mediterranean Sea. Cyclones are tracked by applying an objective Lagrangian algorithm to the MSLP (mean sea level pressure) field. On annual basis, we find a statistically significant difference in vast cyclogenesis regions (northern Adriatic, Sirte Gulf, Aegean Sea and southern Turkey) and in lifetime, giving evidence of the effect of both land–sea contrast and surface heat flux intensity and spatial distribution on cyclone characteristics. Moreover, annual mean convective precipitation changes significantly in the two model climatologies as a consequence of differences in both air–sea interaction strength and frequency of cyclogenesis in the two analyzed simulations.