Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 957–965, 2009

Special issue: Advances in Mediterranean meteorology

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 957–965, 2009

  25 Jun 2009

25 Jun 2009

Cyclogenesis in the Mediterranean basin: a diagnosis using synoptic-dynamic anomalies

M. Kaspar1 and M. Müller1,2 M. Kaspar and M. Müller
  • 1Institute of Atmospheric Physics AS CR, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2Charles University, Faculty of Science, Prague, Czech Republic

Abstract. This work deals with the hypothesis that synoptically-driven heavy rains in the Mediterranean region are connected with the occurrence of synoptic-dynamic anomalies. We investigate this hypothesis by conducting a diagnostic study of a cyclogenesis event from 18–21 July 2001. Cyclogenesis started over the western Mediterranean Sea and was triggered by the approach of a pre-existing upper trough over a lower frontal zone. The event was first accompanied by heavy convective rains in northern Italy and later by heavy, widespread and steady rains of non-convective character in Central Europe.

Using re-analyses from the database ERA-40, we evaluate the synoptic-dynamic anomalies by the cumulative distribution function relatively to July–August area-related climatology over the reference period from 1958 to 2002. For the duration of cyclogenesis, we detect significant anomalies associated with the processes that support the completion of vertical coupling between the lower frontal zone and the upper vorticity maximum. The periods of heavy rains in both the Mediterranean region and Central Europe were characterised by the occurrence of anomalies that created synoptic-scale conditions favourable for triggering and sustaining heavy rains. Although these anomalies were somewhat weaker in the period of heavy rains in Central Europe than in the Mediterranean region, the analysis of their spatio-temporal correspondence over the reference rainfall events in the Czech Republic shows that they are typical of heavy rains there. Due to the relatively high variability of the causal synoptic-scale conditions, this study would benefit post-processing procedures aimed at improving warning about this hazardous weather phenomenon to further investigate which anomalies generally occur during synoptically-driven heavy rains in the Mediterranean region and the strengths of these anomalies.