Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 97, Issue 1–2, pp 163–177 | Cite as

A study of weather types at Athens and Thessaloniki and their relationship to circulation types for the cold-wet period, part I: two-step cluster analysis

  • C. Michailidou
  • P. Maheras
  • A. Arseni-Papadimititriou
  • F. Kolyva-Machera
  • C. Anagnostopoulou
Original Paper


This paper presents a method for grouping weather types that occur over an area, which combines meteorological parameters, reflecting air mass characteristics at the surface, with synoptic conditions prevailing over an area. Five quantitative meteorological parameters are used in the procedure: temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, wind velocity and sunshine duration. In addition, two qualitative variables related to the prevailing circulation type and whether it is cyclonic or anticyclonic are also included. The study period is 43 years (1958–2000) and is restricted to the cold and wet sub-period of the year, December–March. Weather types are defined using a relatively new method of cluster analysis, two-step cluster analysis, which allows the simultaneous use of both quantitative and qualitative variables. The aim of the present study is to distinguish primary weather patterns so that the investigation into the relationship between weather patterns and circulation types will be more effective. For Athens, six weather types are created, whereas for Thessaloniki five are produced. For both stations, only two weather types are related to anticyclonic situations. The majority of the identified weather types correspond to a distinctive and well-defined synoptic situation. Each weather type differs from the others, not only in terms of the circulation conditions referring to it, but also with reference to meteorological variables such as temperature and precipitation. The results of the evaluation of the aforementioned procedure are considered to be highly satisfactory.


Sunshine Duration Relative Vorticity Weather Type Circulation Type Synoptic Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to express their gratitude to the Greek State Scholarships Foundation which has supported the studies of Christine Michailidou. The authors are also grateful for being granted use of daily maximum temperature, precipitation amount, relative humidity, wind velocity and sunshine duration data, from the Athens station, by the Greek National Meteorological Service, and from the station at Thessaloniki, by the Department of Meteorology and Climatology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data were provided by the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, at Moreover, the authors would like to express their gratitude to the reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. Also, we would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Clair Hanson for her valuable help in improving the language of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Michailidou
    • 1
  • P. Maheras
    • 1
  • A. Arseni-Papadimititriou
    • 1
  • F. Kolyva-Machera
    • 2
  • C. Anagnostopoulou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Meteorology and Climatology, School of GeologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Section of Statistics and Operational Research, Department of MathematicsAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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