Natural Hazards

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 707–723 | Cite as

A severe sea-effect snow episode over the city of Istanbul

  • Tayfun KindapEmail author
Original Paper


In February 2005, unexpected heavy snowstorms lasted a couple of days with changing intensities, producing significant snowfall that eventually paralyzed the life of Istanbul metropolis. Surprisingly, there was no caution announcement prior to the onset of this unusual weather phenomenon. What was the reason behind this wrong prediction? In this case study, using a meteorological model, a heavy sea-effect snowfall, the reason of this phenomenon, was simulated and researched. With a persistent surface high-pressure center over western Russia, a surface low-pressure positioned in the center of southern Turkey was the dominant feature of the formation of the sea-effect snow over the city. In addition to strong northerly winds (19 m/s), low directional vertical wind shear (<30o) and extremely long fetch distance (~600 km) feature; environmental conditions during the event were characterized by a sea-surface 850-hPa temperature difference of up to 14°C and a sea–land temperature difference as high as 24°C.


Sea-effect snow The black sea MM5 Synoptic-mesoscale conditions 



This study has been supported by a research grant (11_05_268) provided by the Secretaria of Research Activities at Istanbul Technical University and by a research grant (105Y046) provided by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). The modeling experiments were carried out at the computing facilities of the Institute of Informatics at Istanbul Technical University. Thanks to M. Ersen Aksoy (EIES) for the technical assistance. I appreciate the editorial assistance provided by Ayce Aksay.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eurasia Institute of Earth SciencesIstanbul Technical UniversityMaslak, IstanbulTurkey

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