Coupled atmosphere ocean climate model simulations in the Mediterranean region: effect of a high-resolution marine model on cyclones and precipitation

Sanna, A.; Lionello, P.; Gualdi, S.

In this study we investigate the importance of an eddy-permitting Mediterranean Sea circulation model on the simulation of atmospheric cyclones and precipitation in a climate model. This is done by analyzing results of two fully coupled GCM (general circulation models) simulations, differing only for the presence/absence of an interactive marine module, at very high-resolution (~ 1/16°), for the simulation of the 3-D circulation of the Mediterranean Sea. Cyclones are tracked by applying an objective Lagrangian algorithm to the MSLP (mean sea level pressure) field. On annual basis, we find a statistically significant difference in vast cyclogenesis regions (northern Adriatic, Sirte Gulf, Aegean Sea and southern Turkey) and in lifetime, giving evidence of the effect of both land–sea contrast and surface heat flux intensity and spatial distribution on cyclone characteristics. Moreover, annual mean convective precipitation changes significantly in the two model climatologies as a consequence of differences in both air–sea interaction strength and frequency of cyclogenesis in the two analyzed simulations.

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Sanna, A. / Lionello, P. / Gualdi, S.: Coupled atmosphere ocean climate model simulations in the Mediterranean region: effect of a high-resolution marine model on cyclones and precipitation. 2013. Copernicus Publications.

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