Natural Hazards

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 2489–2518 | Cite as

Modeling the exceptional south Foehn event (Garmij) over the Alborz Mountains during the extreme forest fire of December 2005

  • Abbas Mofidi
  • Iman Soltanzadeh
  • Yadollah Yousefi
  • Azar Zarrin
  • Mohsen Soltani
  • Jafar Masoompour Samakosh
  • Ghasem Azizi
  • Samuel T. K. Miller
Original Paper


An exceptional southerly Foehn in the Alborz Mountains in northern Iran is investigated by using a combination of observations, reanalysis, and simulation data. A synoptic analysis is used as well as a high-resolution numerical modeling to clarify the Foehn event at different scales. The event resulted in an extensive and high-intensity fire in the Gilan and Mazandaran forests in northern Iran. The results indicate that a mechanically driven Foehn occurred in the Alborz Mountains during December 16–18, 2005. On the synoptic scale, the Foehn event occurred due to the presence of high pressure over the interior regions of Iran and lee cyclone over the southern Caspian Sea, with a strong south–north pressure gradient across the Alborz Mountains. In the mesoscale, the results suggest that mountain waves generated over the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains are the primary source of the localized southerly wind maximum around the lee side of Alborz. A numerical simulation reveals that strong meridional surface pressure differences along with southerly flow, which is blocked upstream of the Alborz Mountains, result in higher nonlinearity and create large-amplitude vertically propagating mountain waves over the Alborz Mountains. The study also indicates that the wave-breaking region on the lee side with a critical level ranging from 600 to 400 hPa is responsible for reflecting the mountain wave energy back to the ground and for creating severe downslope wind (Garmij) in leeward side of Alborz Mountains. The Foehn event first appeared early on December 16, due to a wave-breaking at 550 hPa in western part of the Alborz Mountains.


Foehn Forest fires Downslope wind Alborz Mountains Mountain wave WRF model 



This research was supported by the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (FUM) under grant 2/20173. The authors wish to express their appreciation to the Natural Resources Administration of Mazandaran and Gilan Provinces for providing forest fire reports. The daily meteorological data were provided by Islamic Republic of Iran Meteorological Organization (IRIMO). We also gratefully acknowledge the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) for the provision of the HYSPLIT model and READY Web site used in this publication. Satellite images used in Fig. 8 were obtained from the NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service (NEODAAS), Geostationary Archive of the Dundee Satellite receiving station. The authors would like to thank the five anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbas Mofidi
    • 1
  • Iman Soltanzadeh
    • 2
  • Yadollah Yousefi
    • 3
  • Azar Zarrin
    • 1
  • Mohsen Soltani
    • 4
  • Jafar Masoompour Samakosh
    • 5
  • Ghasem Azizi
    • 6
  • Samuel T. K. Miller
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of GeographyFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIslamic Republic of Iran
  2. 2.Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService)WellingtonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Geography and Urban Planing, Faculty of Humanity & Social ScienceUniversity of MazandaranBabolsarIran
  4. 4.Institute of Meteorology and Climate ResearchAtmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)Garmisch-PartenkirchenGermany
  5. 5.Department of Geography, Faculty of HumanitiesRazi UniversityKermanshahIran
  6. 6.Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of GeographyUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  7. 7.Department of Atmospheric Science and ChemistryPlymouth State UniversityPlymouthUSA

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