Medicanes, intense and destructive mesoscale cyclones exhibiting several similarities with tropical hurricanes, are known to struck occasionally the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to a high-resolution dynamical downscaling effort, we are able to study for the first time the long-term climatology of those rare storms in a systematic way. The distribution of medicanes frequency in space and time is discussed, and the environmental factors responsible for their formation are investigated. We find that medicanes develop in those areas of the Mediterranean region where intrusions of cold air in the upper troposphere can produce configurations of thermodynamical disequilibrium of the atmosphere similar to those associated with the formation of tropical cyclones.
KeywordsMediterranean hurricanes Dynamical downscaling Mesoscale tropical-like cyclones Medicanes climatology
We acknowledge Burkardt Rockel and Beate Geyer for their precious help with the model. We thank Antonio Navarra for many valuable and stimulating discussions. The research leading to these results has received funding from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea under the GEMINA Project, and from the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme under the ORIENTGATE Project.
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