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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 5 | Copyright

Special issue: 14th Plinius Conference and MEDEX Final Conference

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 1059-1070, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 07 May 2014

Research article | 07 May 2014

Detection and thermal description of medicanes from numerical simulation

M. A. Picornell1, J. Campins1, and A. Jansà2,3 M. A. Picornell et al.
  • 1Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • 2Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • 3Formerly at Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Abstract. Tropical-like cyclones rarely affect the Mediterranean region but they can produce strong winds and heavy precipitations. These warm-core cyclones, called MEDICANES (MEDIterranean hurriCANES), are small in size, develop over the sea and are infrequent. For these reasons, the detection and forecast of medicanes are a difficult task and many efforts have been devoted to identify them.

The goals of this work are to contribute to a proper description of these structures and to develop some criteria to identify medicanes from numerical weather prediction (NWP) model outputs. To do that, existing methodologies for detecting, characterizating and tracking cyclones have been adapted to small-scale intense cyclonic perturbations. First, a mesocyclone detection and tracking algorithm has been modified to select intense cyclones. Next, the parameters that define the Hart's cyclone phase diagram are tuned and calculated to examine their thermal structure.

Four well-known medicane events have been described from numerical simulation outputs of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) model. The predicted cyclones and their evolution have been validated against available observational data and numerical analyses from the literature.

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