Articles | Volume 12
21 Sep 2007
21 Sep 2007

The atmospheric conditions over Europe and the Mediterranean, favoring snow events in Athens, Greece

E. E. Houssos, C. J. Lolis, and A. Bartzokas

Abstract. The 3-dimensional structure and the evolution of atmospheric circulation favoring snowfall in Athens are examined. The study refers to 61 snow events, which occurred during the period 1958–2001. For each one of the events, the patterns of MSL pressure, 850 hPa and 500 hPa air temperatures, 500 hPa geopotential height and 1000–500 hPa thickness are constructed for the European region, for the day before (D-1), the first day (D) and the day after the end of the event (END). A statistical methodology involving Factor Analysis and Cluster Analysis is applied to the above data sets and the 61 cases are finally classified into five clusters. These clusters are generally characterized by a north-easterly flow in the lower troposphere over the Athens area. This flow is associated with the presence of a low pressure system around Cyprus and an anticyclone over Europe. The position, the intensity and the trajectories of the surface and the upper air systems during D-1, D and END days are generally different among the five clusters.