Special Issue "Mediterranean Tropical-Like Cyclones (Medicanes)"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Climatology and Meteorology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Mario Marcello Miglietta

Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Lecce, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mesoscale meteorology; Mediterranean cyclones; orographic precipitation; supercells; tornadoes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that the Mediterranean Sea is an important cyclogenetic area. Most of its cyclones have synoptic-scale and baroclinic origin; however, intense mesoscale vortices have sometimes been observed with features closely resembling those of tropical cyclones, though smaller in size. These cyclones are generally called Medicanes, a short name for “Mediterranean hurricanes”, or Mediterranean tropical-like cyclones (TLCs). Numerical simulations have shown that the latent heat release associated with convection and air–sea interaction processes are fundamental for their intensification, while baroclinic instability is important in the early stages of their lifetime. In recent years, a renewed interest in this topic is emerging, due both to the important social impact of these vortices, which may affect the coasts with intense winds and heavy precipitation, and to the implications of climate change for their intensity and location. While a number of papers shed some light on the mechanisms of formation and intensification, several questions are still subject of debate in the scientific community, ranging from the criteria for a reliable definition of Medicanes to their classification as a peculiar category or as member of an extensive category including also polar lows and subtropical cyclones.

Dr. Mario Marcello Miglietta
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Medicanes
  • Mediterranean tropical-like cyclones
  • mesoscale meteorology
  • convection
  • air-sea interaction

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Sensitivity of a Mediterranean Tropical-Like Cyclone to Physical Parameterizations
Atmosphere 2018, 9(11), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9110436
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
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Abstract
The accurate prediction of Mediterranean tropical-like cyclones, or medicanes, is an important challenge for numerical weather prediction models due to their significant adverse impact on the environment, life, and property. The aim of this study is to investigate the sensitivity of an intense
[...] Read more.
The accurate prediction of Mediterranean tropical-like cyclones, or medicanes, is an important challenge for numerical weather prediction models due to their significant adverse impact on the environment, life, and property. The aim of this study is to investigate the sensitivity of an intense medicane, which formed south of Sicily on 7 November 2014, to the microphysical, cumulus, and boundary/surface layer schemes. The non-hydrostatic Weather Research and Forecasting model (version 3.7.1) is employed. A symmetric cyclone with a deep warm core, corresponding to a medicane, develops in all of the experiments, except for the one with the Thompson microphysics. There is a significant sensitivity of different aspects of the simulated medicane to the physical parameterizations. Its intensity is mainly influenced by the boundary/surface layer scheme, while its track is mainly influenced by the representation of cumulus convection, and its duration is mainly influenced by microphysical parameterization. The modification of the drag coefficient and the roughness lengths of heat and moisture seems to improve its intensity, track, and duration. The parameterization of shallow convection, with explicitly resolved deep convection, results in a weaker medicane with a shorter lifetime. An optimum combination of physical parameterizations in order to simulate all of the characteristics of the medicane does not seem to exist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mediterranean Tropical-Like Cyclones (Medicanes))
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle A Climatological Study of Western Mediterranean Medicanes in Numerical Simulations with Explicit and Parameterized Convection
Atmosphere 2018, 9(10), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9100397
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 2 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
The semi-enclosed Mediterranean basin, surrounded by high mountains, is placed in a favorable location for cyclonic storms development. Most of these are extratropical cyclones of baroclinic and orographic origin, but occasionally, some low pressure systems may develop to assume features characteristic of tropical
[...] Read more.
The semi-enclosed Mediterranean basin, surrounded by high mountains, is placed in a favorable location for cyclonic storms development. Most of these are extratropical cyclones of baroclinic and orographic origin, but occasionally, some low pressure systems may develop to assume features characteristic of tropical cyclones. Medicanes (MEDIterranean hurriCANES) are infrequent and small-sized tropical-like cyclones. They originate and develop over sea, and are associated with strong winds and heavy precipitations. Proper definitions and classifications for Medicanes are still partially lacking, and systematic climatic studies have appeared only in recent years. In this work, we provide climatologies of Medicanes in the Western Mediterranean basin based on multidecadal runs performed with the Weather Research and Forecasting regional model with different resolutions and setups. The detection of Medicanes is based on a cyclone tracking algorithm and on the methodology of Hart cyclone phase space diagrams. We compare the statistics of Medicanes in the historical period 1979–1998 between runs at a resolution of 11 km with different convective parameterizations and microphysics schemes and one run at a resolution of 4 km with explicitly resolved convection. We show how different convective parameterization schemes lead to different statistics of Medicanes, while the use of different microphysical schemes impacts the length of the cyclone trajectories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mediterranean Tropical-Like Cyclones (Medicanes))
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Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Influence of Wave State and Sea Spray on the Roughness Length: Feedback on Medicanes
Atmosphere 2018, 9(8), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9080301
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 26 July 2018 / Accepted: 28 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Occasionally, storms that share many features with tropical cyclones, including the presence of a quasi-circular “eye” a warm core and strong winds, are observed in the Mediterranean. Generally, they are known as Medicanes, or tropical-like cyclones (TLC). Due to the intense wind forcings
[...] Read more.
Occasionally, storms that share many features with tropical cyclones, including the presence of a quasi-circular “eye” a warm core and strong winds, are observed in the Mediterranean. Generally, they are known as Medicanes, or tropical-like cyclones (TLC). Due to the intense wind forcings and the consequent development of high wind waves, a large number of sea spray droplets—both from bubble bursting and spume tearing processes—are likely to be produced at the sea surface. In order to take into account this process, we implemented an additional Sea Spray Source Function (SSSF) in WRF-Chem, model version 3.6.1, using the GOCART (Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport) aerosol sectional module. Traditionally, air-sea momentum fluxes are computed through the classical Charnock relation that does not consider the wave-state and sea spray effects on the sea surface roughness explicitly. In order to take into account these forcing, we implemented a more recent parameterization of the sea surface aerodynamic roughness within the WRF surface layer model, which may be applicable to both moderate and high wind conditions. The implemented SSSF and sea surface roughness parameterization have been tested using an operative model sequence based on COAWST (Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave Sediment Transport) and WRF-Chem. The third-generation wave model SWAN (Simulating Waves Nearshore), two-way coupled with the WRF atmospheric model in the COAWST framework, provided wave field parameters. Numerical simulations have been integrated with the WRF-Chem chemistry package, with the aim of calculating the sea spray generated by the waves and to include its effect in the Charnock roughness parametrization together with the sea state effect. A single case study is performed, considering the Medicane that affected south-eastern Italy on 26 September 2006. Since this Medicane is one of the most deeply analysed in literature, its investigation can easily shed some light on the feedbacks between sea spray and drag coefficients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mediterranean Tropical-Like Cyclones (Medicanes))
Figures

Graphical abstract

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Tentative Title: Multi-physics ensemble versus atmosphere-wave-ocean coupled model simulations for a Tropical-Like Cyclone in the Mediterranean Sea
Authors: Antonio Ricchi (1), Mario Marcello Miglietta (2), Davide Bonaldo(1), Umbero Rizza (2), Aniello Russo (3), and Sandro Carniel (1)
Affiliation:
(1) ISMAR-CNR, Venice, Italy
(2) ISAC-CNR, Lecce, Italy,
(3) Marche Polytechnic University, Marche Polytechnic University, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Piano di Sorrento, Italy
Abstract:
In the period 19-22 January 2014, a baroclinic wave from the Atlantic region generated a cut-off low over the Strait of Gibraltar. The resulting depression remained active for approximately 80 hours, moving along the Mediterranean Sea from west to east to the north of the African coast, then crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea before landing over central Italy. The cyclone crossed the Italian peninsula and reinvigorated over the Adriatic Sea, before turning southward.
Using the Hart diagram for an objective classification of its characteristics, we found that the cyclone gained tropical-like features during the first phase (close to the Balearic Islands) and during its transit over the Adriatic Sea. The limited predictability of this event suggests the need of an ensemble methodology for a proper prediction of the cyclone. Two different approaches, comparable in terms of computational cost, are analyzed here. In the former, an ensemble, using around 10 different microphysics and turbulence schemes available in the WRF (Weather Research for Forecasting) model, is employed. In the latter, the COAWST suite (Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave Sediment Transport Modelling System), including WRF as atmospheric model, ROMS as ocean model, SWAN as wave model, is used.
In order to better evaluate the benefit of using a coupled modeling system, the air-sea interaction processes are taken into account at different levels of complexity, using respectively the sea surface temperature (SST) provided by a spectro-radiometer at 8.3 km resolution, and by the MFS model fields (provided by the CMEMS portal) at approximately 6 km resolution (in both cases the SST is updated every 6 hours). These simulations are compared with a COAWST run using a two-way atmosphere-ocean coupled configuration and two-way atmosphere-ocean-wave coupling.
Results show that coupled simulations reproduce less intense sea surface heat fluxes, which result in better TLC tracks, more realistic timing and cyclone intensity in comparison with standalone simulations, even when the latter use an updated high-resolution SST as lower boundary condition. Thus, our suggestion is that the available computational resources should be better employed for a coupled model configuration than for a multi-physics approach in the simulation of a Mediterranean TLC, at least in the present case study.

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