Articles | Volume 8, issue 3
09 May 2008
 | 09 May 2008

Synoptic, thermodynamic and agroeconomic aspects of severe hail events in Cyprus

S. C. Michaelides, K. Savvidou, K. A. Nicolaides, A. Orphanou, G. Photiou, and C. Kannaouros

Abstract. Hail is a hazardous weather element often accompanying a thunderstorm, as a result of either thermal instability or instability associated with baroclinic synoptic-scale systems (i.e. frontal depressions). Nevertheless, instability of any kind and thunderstorm activity does not always lead to the formation of hail of adequate size to reach the ground. The broader the knowledge concerning hail events the better the understanding of the underlying thermodynamic and dynamic mechanisms, as well as the physical processes associated with its formation.

In the present study, the severe hail events that were recorded in Cyprus during the ten-year period from 1996 until 2005 were examined, first by grouping them into two clusters, namely, the "thermal instability cluster" and the "frontal depression cluster". Subsequently, the spatial and temporal evolution of the synoptic, dynamic and thermodynamic characteristics of these hail events was studied in depth. Also, the impact of hailstorms on the local economy of the island is presented in terms of the compensations paid by the Agricultural Insurance Organization of the country.