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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-983
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-983
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Surface processes in the 7 November 2014 medicane from air–sea coupled high-resolution numerical modelling

Marie-Noëlle Bouin1,2 and Cindy Lebeaupin Brossier1 Marie-Noëlle Bouin and Cindy Lebeaupin Brossier
  • 1CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 2Laboratoire d'Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Ifremer, University of Brest, CNRS, IRD, Brest, France

Abstract. A medicane, or Mediterranean cyclone with characteristics similar to tropical cyclones, is simulated using a kilometre-scale ocean–atmosphere coupled modelling platform. A first baroclinic phase of the cyclone leads to strong convective precipitation, with high potential vorticity anomalies aloft due to an upper-level trough. The deepening and tropicalization of the cyclone is due first to the crossing of the upper-level jet, then to low-level convergence and uplift of conditionally unstable air masses by cold pools, resulting either from rain evaporation or from advection of continental air masses from North Africa. Backtrajectories show that air–sea heat exchanges warm and moisten the low-level inflow feeding the latent heat release during the mature phase of the medicane. However, the impact of ocean–atmosphere coupling on the cyclone track, intensity and lifecycle is very weak, due to a surface cooling one order of magnitude weaker than for tropical cyclones, even on the area of strong enthalpy fluxes. Isolating the influence of the surface parameters on the surface fluxes at sea during the different phases of the cyclone confirms the impact of the cold pools on the surface processes. The evaporation is controlled mainly by the sea surface temperature and wind, with a significant additional impact of the humidity and temperature at first level during the development phase. The sensible heat flux is influenced mainly by the temperature at first level throughout the whole medicane lifetime. This study shows that the tropical transition, in this case, is dependent on processes widespread in the Mediterranean Basin, like advection of continental air, rain evaporation, and dry air intrusion.

Marie-Noëlle Bouin and Cindy Lebeaupin Brossier
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Marie-Noëlle Bouin and Cindy Lebeaupin Brossier
Marie-Noëlle Bouin and Cindy Lebeaupin Brossier
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Latest update: 07 Dec 2019
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Short summary
A coupled, km-scale simulation of a medicane is used to assess the impact of the ocean feedback and the role of the surface fluxes. The SST drop is much weaker than for tropical cyclone, resulting in no impact on the cyclone. The surface fluxes depend mainly on the wind and SST for the evaporation, on air temperature for the sensible heat. Processes widespread in the Mediterranean, like advection of continental air, rain evaporation, and dry air intrusion, play a role in the cyclone development.
A coupled, km-scale simulation of a medicane is used to assess the impact of the ocean feedback...
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