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Projected changes in medicanes in the HadGEM3 N512 high-resolution global climate model

Tous, M., Zappa, G., Romero, R., Shaffrey, L. and Vidale, P. L. (2016) Projected changes in medicanes in the HadGEM3 N512 high-resolution global climate model. Climate Dynamics, 47 (5). pp. 1913-1924. ISSN 0930-7575

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00382-015-2941-2


Medicanes or “Mediterranean hurricanes” represent a rare and physically unique type of Mediterranean mesoscale cyclone. There are similarities with tropical cyclones with regard to their development (based on the thermodynamical disequilibrium between the warm sea and the overlying troposphere) and their kinematic and thermodynamical properties (medicanes are intense vortices with a warm core and even a cloud-free eye). Although medicanes are smaller and their wind speeds are lower than in tropical cyclones, the severity of their winds can cause substantial damage to islands and coastal areas. Concern about how human-induced climate change will affect extreme events is increasing. This includes the future impacts on medicanes due to the warming of the Mediterranean waters and the projected changes in regional atmospheric circulation. However, most global climate models do not have high enough spatial resolution to adequately represent small features such as medicanes. In this study, a cyclone tracking algorithm is applied to high resolution global climate model data with a horizontal grid resolution of approximately 25 km over the Mediterranean region. After a validation of the climatology of general Mediterranean mesoscale cyclones, changes in medicanes are determined using climate model experiments with present and future forcing. The magnitude of the changes in the winds, frequency and location of medicanes is assessed. While no significant changes in the total number of Mediterranean mesoscale cyclones are found, medicanes tend to decrease in number but increase in intensity. The model simulation suggests that medicanes tend to form more frequently in the Gulf of Lion–Genoa and South of Sicily.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
ID Code:51836

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