Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 174, Issue 11, pp 4197–4224 | Cite as

Interaction of Sea Breeze and Deep Convection over the Northeastern Adriatic Coast: An Analysis of Sensitivity Experiments Using a High-Resolution Mesoscale Model

  • Gabrijela Kehler-Poljak
  • Maja Telišman PrtenjakEmail author
  • Marko Kvakić
  • Kristina Šariri
  • Željko Večenaj


This study investigates the sensitivity of a high-resolution mesoscale atmospheric model in the model reproduction of thermally induced local wind (i.e., sea breezes, SB) on the development of deep convection (Cb). The three chosen cases are simulated by the Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF-ARW) model at three (nested) model domains, whereas the area of the interest is Istria (peninsula in the northeastern Adriatic). The sensitivity tests are accomplished by modifying (1) the model setup, (2) the model topography and (3) the sea surface temperature (SST) distribution. The first set of simulations (over the three 1.5-day periods during summer) is conducted by modifying the model setup, i.e., microphysics and the boundary layer parameterizations. The same events are simulated with the modified topography where the mountain heights in Istria are reduced to 30% of their initial height. The SST distribution has two representations in the model: a constant SST field from the ECMWF skin temperature analysis and a varying SST field, which is provided by hourly geostationary satellite data. A comprehensive set of numerical experiments is statistically analyzed through several different approaches (i.e., the standard statistical measures, the spectral method and the image moment analysis). The overall model evaluation of each model setup revealed certain advantages of one model setup over the others. The numerical tests with the modified topography showed the influence of reducing the mountains heights on the pre-thunderstorm characteristics due to: (1) decrease of sensible heat flux and mid-tropospheric moisture and (2) change of slope-SB wind system. They consequently affect the evolution and dimensions of SBs and the features of the thunderstorm itself: timing, location and intensity (weaker storm). The implementation of the varying SST field in the model have an impact on the characteristics and dynamics of the SB and finally on the accuracy of Cb evolution, duration and the intensity. SST variations emphasized the importance of the phase matching in both daytime cycles of SB and Cb due to their extremely strong nonlinear relationship.


Sea breeze convection SST WRF the image moments analysis 



We are very grateful to the Meteorological and Hydrological Service of the Republic of Croatia for providing the meteorological data and to the Slovenian Environment Agency for providing radar images. METAR reports are available from website, This research was supported by the ECMWF ( data and the SEVIRI data, which are accessible through the EUMETSAT Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility ( We would like to thank Igor Tomažić for creating the SST fields in the WRF model (freely available at This work contributes to the VITCLIC project and HyMeX programme. We thank to the Editor and anonymous referees for their in-depth review and valuable suggestions.

Supplementary material

24_2017_1607_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1056 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.INRA, UMR 1391 ISPAVillenave d’OrnonFrance
  3. 3.Croatian Metrology InstituteZagrebCroatia

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