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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  01 Jul 2020

01 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Modelling a tropical-like cyclone in the Mediterranean Sea under present and warmer climate

Shunya Koseki1, Priscilla A. Mooney2, William Cabos3, Miguel Ángel Gaertner4, Alba de la Vara4, and Juan Jesus Gonzáles Alemán5 Shunya Koseki et al.
  • 1Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen/Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 2NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS/Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 3Departamento de Ciencias Fisica, Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
  • 4Facultad de Ciencias del Medio Ambiente, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
  • 5Departamento de Física de la Tierra y Astrofísica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Abstract. This study focuses on a single Mediterranean hurricane (hearafter medicane), to investigate the medicane response to global warming during the middle of the 21st century and assess the contradictory effects of a warmer ocean and a warmer atmosphere on its development. Our investigation uses the state-of-the-art regional climate model WRF with the optimum combination of physical parameterizations based on a sensitivity assessment study. Results show that our model setup can reproduce a realistic cyclone track and the transition from initial disturbance to tropical-like cyclone with a deep warm core although the transition is earlier than for the observed medicane. To investigate the response of the medicane to future climate change, a pseudo global warming (PGW) approach has been used. This approach adds the projected change of atmospheric and ocean variables obtained by an ensemble of CMIP5 models to the boundary conditions for the regional climate model. A PGW simulation where all variables (PGWALL) are incremented shows that most of the medicane characteristics moderately intensify, e.g., surface wind speed, uptake of water vapour and precipitation. However the maximum depression of sea level pressure (SLP) is almost identical with that under present climate conditions. Two additional PGW simulations were undertaken; One simulation adds the projected change in sea surface and skin temperature only (PGWSST) while the second simulation adds the PGW changes to only atmospheric variables (PGWATMS) i.e. we use present time sea surface temperatures. These simulations show opposite effects on the medicane. In PGWSST, the medicane is reinforced more vigorously than PGWALL: much deeper SLP depression, stronger surface wind, and more intense evaporation and precipitation. In contrast, the medicane in PGWATMS weakens considerably (SLP, surface wind and rainfall decrease) still converts into a tropical-like cyclone with a deep warm core. This difference can be explained by an increased water vapour driven by the warmer ocean surface (favourable for cumulus convection) and the warmer and drier atmosphere in PGWATMS tends to inhibit condensation (unfavourable for cumulus convection). As a result of these counteracting effects of warmer ocean and atmosphere, the medicane is enhanced only modestly by global warming.

Shunya Koseki et al.

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Shunya Koseki et al.

Shunya Koseki et al.


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