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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-6
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-6
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Jan 2019

Research article | 28 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

The effect of cyclones crossing the Mediterranean region on sea level anomalies at the Mediterranean Sea coast

Piero Lionello1,2, Dario Conte2, and Marco Reale3,4 Piero Lionello et al.
  • 1Università del Salento, Di.S.Te.B.A., via per Monteroni 164, Lecce
  • 2CMCC , Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici
  • 3ICTP, Ex Sissa Building, Trieste, Italy
  • 4OGS, Sgonico, Trieste, Italy

Abstract. Large positive and negative sea level anomalies at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea are linked to intensity and position of cyclones moving along the Mediterranean storm track, with dynamics involving different factors. This analysis is based on a model hindcast and considers nine coastal stations, which are representative of sea level anomalies with different magnitude and characteristics. When a shallow water fetch is present, the wind around the cyclone center is the main cause of sea level positive and negative anomalies, depending on its onshore or offshore direction. The inverse barometer effect produces a positive anomaly at the coast near the cyclone pressure minimum and a negative anomaly at the opposite side of the Mediterranean Sea, because a cross-basin mean sea level pressure gradient is associated to the presence of a cyclone. Further, at some stations, negative sea level anomalies are reinforced by a residual water mass redistribution within the basin, which is associated with a transient response to the atmospheric pressure forcing. Though the link between presence of a cyclone in the Mediterranean has comparable importance for positive and negative anomalies, the relation between cyclone position and intensity is stronger for the magnitude of positive events. Area of cyclogenesis, track of the central minimum and position at the time of the event differ depending on the location where the sea level anomaly occurs and on its sign. The western Mediterranean is the main cyclogenesis area for both positive and negative anomalies, overall. Atlantic cyclones mainly produce positive sea level anomalies in the western basin. At the easternmost stations, positive anomalies are caused by Cyclogenesis in the Eastern Mediterranean. North Africa cyclogeneses are a major source of positive anomalies at the central African coast and negative anomalies at the eastern Mediterranean and North Aegean coast.

Piero Lionello et al.
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Piero Lionello et al.
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Short summary
Large positive and negative sea level anomalies at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea are produced by cyclones moving along the Mediterranean storm track, which are mostly generated in the western Mediterranean. The wind around the cyclone center is the main cause of sea level anomalies when a shallow water fetch is present. The inverse barometer effect produces a positive anomaly near the cyclone pressure minimum and a negative anomaly at the opposite side of the Mediterranean Sea.
Large positive and negative sea level anomalies at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea are...
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