The Tropical Transition of the October 1996 Medicane in the Western Mediterranean Sea: A Warm Seclusion Event

Edoardo Mazza Institute of Meteorology, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany

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Uwe Ulbrich Institute of Meteorology, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany

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Rupert Klein Institute of Mathematics, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany

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Abstract

The processes leading to the tropical transition of the October 1996 medicane in the western Mediterranean are investigated on the basis of a 50-member ensemble of regional climate model (RCM) simulations. By comparing the composites of transitioning and nontransitioning cyclones it is shown that standard extratropical dynamics are responsible for the cyclogenesis and that the transition results from a warm seclusion process. As the initial thermal asymmetries and vertical tilt of the cyclones are reduced, a warm core forms in the lower troposphere. It is demonstrated that in the transitioning cyclones, the upper-tropospheric warm core is also a result of the seclusion process. Conversely, the warm core remains confined below 600 hPa in the nontransitioning systems. In the baroclinic stage, the transitioning cyclones are characterized by larger vertical wind shear and intensification rates. The resulting stronger low-level circulation in turn is responsible for significantly larger latent and sensible heat fluxes throughout the seclusion process.

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Publisher’s Note: This article was revised on 11 July 2017 to include missing information in the Acknowledgments section.

Corresponding author: Edoardo Mazza, edoardo.mazza@met.fu-berlin.de

Abstract

The processes leading to the tropical transition of the October 1996 medicane in the western Mediterranean are investigated on the basis of a 50-member ensemble of regional climate model (RCM) simulations. By comparing the composites of transitioning and nontransitioning cyclones it is shown that standard extratropical dynamics are responsible for the cyclogenesis and that the transition results from a warm seclusion process. As the initial thermal asymmetries and vertical tilt of the cyclones are reduced, a warm core forms in the lower troposphere. It is demonstrated that in the transitioning cyclones, the upper-tropospheric warm core is also a result of the seclusion process. Conversely, the warm core remains confined below 600 hPa in the nontransitioning systems. In the baroclinic stage, the transitioning cyclones are characterized by larger vertical wind shear and intensification rates. The resulting stronger low-level circulation in turn is responsible for significantly larger latent and sensible heat fluxes throughout the seclusion process.

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Publisher’s Note: This article was revised on 11 July 2017 to include missing information in the Acknowledgments section.

Corresponding author: Edoardo Mazza, edoardo.mazza@met.fu-berlin.de
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