Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
12 Nov 2009
 | 12 Nov 2009

The main characteristics of atmospheric circulation associated with fog in Greece

E. E. Houssos, C. J. Lolis, and A. Bartzokas

Abstract. The characteristics of the atmospheric circulation over Europe and the Mediterranean associated with the formation and the dissipation of fog in Greece are examined. The data used consists of: i) 3-hourly meteorological observations recorded at 16 meteorological stations in Greece and ii) daily (00:00 UTC) 2.5×2.5 grid point values of mean sea-level pressure, 500 hPa geopotential height, 850 hPa and 500 hPa air temperatures and 1000–500 hPa thickness over Europe for the period 1957–2002. 1055 fog events are extracted from the 3-hourly meteorological observations. A specific methodology scheme including S-mode Factor Analysis and k-means Cluster Analysis is applied to the grid point data sets for the first day of a fog event (D day), the day prior to D day (D-1 day) and the day that follows the last day of a fog event (END day) and the 1055 evolutions of the atmospheric circulation associated with fog events in Greece are classified into 10 clusters. The mean patterns of MSL Pressure, 850 hPa and 500 hPa air temperatures, 1000–500 hPa thickness and 500 hPa geopotential height show that in most of the clusters, the presence of anticyclonic conditions over the Balkans, a warm front passage, or a weak, humid southerly flow induced by the presence of a shallow depression over the western Mediterranean favor fog formation in Greece, while the dissipation of fog occurs when drier air masses are transferred over the Balkans. The main differences among the 10 clusters refer to the exact position, the intensity and the specific evolution of the surface and the upper air systems, the season of their predominance and the area of the Greek territory that mainly refer to.