Articles | Volume 12
05 Jul 2007
05 Jul 2007

Scenarios in the development of Mediterranean cyclones

M. Romem, B. Ziv, and H. Saaroni

Abstract. The Mediterranean is one of the most cyclogenetic regions in the world. The cyclones are concentrated along its northern coasts and their tracks are oriented more or less west-east, with several secondary tracks connecting them to Europe and to North Africa. The aim of this study is to examine scenarios in the development of Mediterranean cyclones, based on five selected winter seasons (October–March). We detected the cyclones subjectively using 6-hourly Sea-Level Pressure maps, based on the NCAR/NCEP reanalysis archive.

HMSO (1962) has shown that most Mediterranean cyclones (58%) enter the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean (through Biscay and Gibraltar), and from the south-west, the Sahara Desert, while the rest are formed in the Mediterranean Basin itself. Our study revealed that only 13% of the cyclones entered the Mediterranean, while 87% were generated in the Mediterranean Basin. The entering cyclones originate in three different regions: the Sahara Desert (6%), the Atlantic Ocean (4%), and Western Europe (3%).

The cyclones formed within the Mediterranean Basin were found to generate under the influence of external cyclonic systems, i.e. as "daughter cyclones" to "parent cyclones" or troughs. These parent systems are located in three regions: Europe (61%), North Africa and the Red Sea (34.5%) and the Mediterranean Basin itself (4.5%). The study presents scenarios in the development of Mediterranean cyclones during the winter season, emphasizing the cyclogenesis under the influence of various external forcing.

The large difference with respect to the findings of HMSO (1962) is partly explained by the dominance of spring cyclones generating in the Sahara Desert, especially in April and May that were not included in our study period.