Hail Climatology in the Mediterranean Basin Using the GPM Constellation (1999–2021)
2. The Study Area
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. Hail Data Collection
- These months are characterized by the lowest probability of experiencing hailstorms according to the results of the MWCC-H method.
- In clear-sky conditions, the presence of snow on the ground often observed in wintertime can generate a MW radiometric signal similar to that of cloud-ice particles, thus generating a misleading response in terms of H or SH occurrences.
3.2. Trend Analysis
- link different platforms to cover the whole study period 1999–2021 with a single operational platform at a time;
- exploit sensors with the same spatial resolution, i.e., MHS and ATMS.
4.1. Monthly Climatology
- April is the month with the lowest number of occurrences, having S1.1 and S1.3 (Algerian basin, Spain, France, and South Belgium) the maximum number of H (571) and SH (14) with respect to the other sectors, respectively. In this month the SH events are almost absent.
- From May to August, H events affect mainly the northern regions of the domain, in particular sectors S2.3 (Northern Italy, Alps Region, and Dinaric Alps) with the highest peak in July and August, and S3.3 (Balkans and Carpathians mountains) with highest peaks in June and July with respect to other sectors; H occurrences in S1.3 (France and Southern Belgium) is lower than those of the previous sectors. From a dynamic point of view, the distribution of H events could be explained by considering the shift towards higher latitudes that Atlantic storm tracks experience during summertime, when the Iberian Peninsula, Southern Italy, and the southern part of the Balkans are generally protected by a subtropical anticyclonic belt. A similar spatial distribution is valid also for the SH events that reach their maxima in July and August for S2.3 (928 and 815 events, respectively) and in May and June for S3.3 (89 and 777, respectively). The central sectors (S1.2, S2.2 and S3.2) had lower occurrences compared to the northern areas of the domain. Finally, H and SH events in the southern sectors of the domain (North Africa and Middle East) were negligible or even null.
- In autumn (September to November), the highest number of H events are found in the central sectors of the domain. In particular, S2.2 (Southern Italy and Tunisia) is the sector with the highest number of H pixels in each month of the period (8496, 11,369, and 6921). The sector S1.2 (Spain, Balearic Islands and Western Mediterranean) showed its highest number of H occurrences in September (4308), while S3.2 (Greece and the Aegean Sea) experienced its highest number of H events in October (4761). Such a distribution of hail events in this period of the year could be supported by the action of the polar jet stream; as autumn approaches, a secondary branch of the jet stream often reaches the western part of the Mediterranean Sea enhancing the development of troughs that generally affect the whole basin in the W-E direction. These systems are fed along their path by humidity produced by high sea surface temperatures and can sometimes trigger severe convective instability conditions. The number of H events also generally increased in the southern sectors, even though to a lesser degree, especially in S2.1 (South Mediterranean, Southern Tunisia and Libya), probably due to the presence of high sea surface temperatures in contrast with the nearby land. Though the total number of SH events was considerably lower than that of the corresponding H events, it can be noted that in some sectors the seasonality of SH events is preserved, such as in S2.2 and S2.3, which stand out again as the sectors most affected by SH events.
4.2. Trend Analysis
4.2.1. Trends over the Entire Mediterranean Basin
4.2.2. Trends over Sectors
4.3. Hail Event Diurnal Cycle
- 00–06 UTC NPP-ATMS
- 06–12 UTC MOB-MHS
- 12–18 UTC N18-MHS
- 18–00 UTC MOA-MHS.
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
|AMSU-B||Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-B|
|ATMS||Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder|
|CAPE||Convective Available Potential Energy|
|ESWD||European Severe Weather Database|
|GMI||GPM Microwave Imager|
|GPM||Global Precipitation Measurement mission|
|GPM-C||Global Precipitation Measurement Constellation|
|GMP-CO||GPM Core Observatory|
|MHS||Microwave Humidity Sounder|
|MWCC||MicroWave Cloud Classification method|
|NCEP||National Center for Environmental Prediction|
|SSMIS||Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder|
|SST||Sea Surface Temperature|
|TRMM||Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission|
|ZDEGL||Zero DEGree Level|
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|Category Description||Probability of Hail||Diameter Range (cm)||Kinetic Energy (J)||Terminal Velocity (m s−1)||Potential Severity|
|Hail Potential (HP)||0.20 ÷ 0.36||~||~||~||Absent to low|
|Graupel/Hail Initiation (HI)||0.36 ÷ 0.45||<2||<33.84 × 10−2||<19.09||Low to moderate|
|Large Hail (H)||0.45 ÷ 0.60||2 ÷ 10||33.84 × 10−2 ÷ 423||19.09 ÷ 42.69||High to severe|
|Super Hail (SH)||> 0.60||>10||>423||>42.69||Severe to extreme|
|1. Time Series N15-N18-NPP|
|2. Time Series N15-N18-MOB|
|3. Time Series N15-MOA-MOC|
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Laviola, S.; Monte, G.; Cattani, E.; Levizzani, V. Hail Climatology in the Mediterranean Basin Using the GPM Constellation (1999–2021). Remote Sens. 2022, 14, 4320. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14174320
Laviola S, Monte G, Cattani E, Levizzani V. Hail Climatology in the Mediterranean Basin Using the GPM Constellation (1999–2021). Remote Sensing. 2022; 14(17):4320. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14174320Chicago/Turabian Style
Laviola, Sante, Giulio Monte, Elsa Cattani, and Vincenzo Levizzani. 2022. "Hail Climatology in the Mediterranean Basin Using the GPM Constellation (1999–2021)" Remote Sensing 14, no. 17: 4320. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14174320