Waterspout Forecasting Method Over the Eastern Adriatic Using a High-Resolution Numerical Weather Model

Abstract

In this study, a synoptic and mesoscale analysis was performed and Szilagyi’s waterspout forecasting method was tested on ten waterspout events in the period of 2013–2016. Data regarding waterspout occurrences were collected from weather stations, an online survey at the official website of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia and eyewitness reports from newspapers and the internet. Synoptic weather conditions were analyzed using surface pressure fields, 500 hPa level synoptic charts, SYNOP reports and atmospheric soundings. For all observed waterspout events, a synoptic type was determined using the 500 hPa geopotential height chart. The occurrence of lightning activity was determined from the LINET lightning database, and waterspouts were divided into thunderstorm-related and “fair weather” ones. Mesoscale characteristics (with a focus on thermodynamic instability indices) were determined using the high-resolution (500 m grid length) mesoscale numerical weather model and model results were compared with the available observations. Because thermodynamic instability indices are usually insufficient for forecasting waterspout activity, the performance of the Szilagyi Waterspout Index (SWI) was tested using vertical atmospheric profiles provided by the mesoscale numerical model. The SWI successfully forecasted all waterspout events, even the winter events. This indicates that the Szilagyi’s waterspout prognostic method could be used as a valid prognostic tool for the eastern Adriatic.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Dr. Szilagyi, who shared his knowledge of the SWN and SWI. We would also like to thank all of the individuals who helped us to collect the data. This research was supported by the ECMWF (http://www.ecmwf.int/) data, atmospheric soundings from http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html and the WRF-ARW model freely available at www.wrf-model.org/index.php. The contribution of Sarah Ivušić to this paper was partially funded by HrZZ contract I-3833-2016. Sarah Ivušić also thanks Kristian Horvath and Ivan Güttler for their available discussion and comments. Maja Telišman Prtenjak wishes to acknowledge the Croatian Science Foundation project VITCLIC (PKP-2016-06-2975), which is funded by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund under the Government Programme (Ministry of Environment and Energy & Ministry of Science and Education) for the Promotion of Research and Development Activities in the Field of Climate Change for the period 2015–2016.

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Correspondence to Tanja Renko.

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Renko, T., Ivušić, S., Telišman Prtenjak, M. et al. Waterspout Forecasting Method Over the Eastern Adriatic Using a High-Resolution Numerical Weather Model. Pure Appl. Geophys. 175, 3759–3778 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-018-1833-x

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Keywords

  • Waterspout
  • Adriatic
  • Szilagyi Waterspout Index
  • WRF
  • convection