Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
11 Nov 2009
 | 11 Nov 2009

The interaction of northern wind flow with the complex topography of Crete Island – Part 1: Observational study

I. Koletsis, K. Lagouvardos, V. Kotroni, and A. Bartzokas

Abstract. The island of Crete with its mountain ranges is an excellent example of a major isolated topographic feature, which significantly modifies the regional airflow as well as the pressure and temperature fields. During summer, when northerly winds are blowing over the Aegean Sea (a large number of which are characterized as Etesians), the highly complex topography of Crete plays an important role in the modification of this northern wind flow. The main objective of this study is to determine the role of the topography of Crete Island during this wind flow on the strong downslope winds at the southern parts of the island as well as on the development of a gap flow between the two highest mountains of the island (Lefka Ori and Idi). For that purpose, observational data from four meteorological stations located along the aforementioned gap are used along with QuikSCAT satellite data. The observational analysis shows that the interaction of the northern wind flow with the mountains of Crete Island produces an upstream deceleration, a leftward deflection of the air as this approaches the mountains and an intensification of the winds at the southern coasts accompanied with a temperature increase. Furthermore, the maximum of the gap flow is observed at the exit region of the gap.