Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-675
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-675
14 Mar 2024
 | 14 Mar 2024

What determines the predictability of a Mediterranean cyclone?

Benjamin Doiteau, Florian Pantillon, Matthieu Plu, Laurent Descamps, and Thomas Rieutord

Abstract. Mediterranean cyclones are essential components of the climate in a densely populated area, providing beneficial rainfall for both the environment and human activities. The most intense of them also lead to natural disasters because of their strong winds and heavy precipitation. Identifying error sources in the predictability of Mediterranean cyclones is therefore essential to better anticipate and prevent their impact. The aim of this work is to characterise the cyclone predictability in this region. Here, it is investigated in a systematic framework using European Centre for Medium range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) fifth generation reanalysis (ERA5) and ensemble reforecasts in a homogeneous configuration over 20 years (2001–2021). First, a reference data set of 2853 cyclones is obtained for the period by applying a tracking algorithm to the ERA5 reanalysis. Then the predictability is systematically evaluated in the ensemble reforecasts. It is quantified using a new probabilistic score based on the error distribution of cyclone location and intensity (mean sea level pressure). The score is firstly computed for the complete data set and then for different categories of cyclones based on their intensity, deepening rate, velocity and on the geographic area and the season in which they occur. When crossing the location and intensity errors with the different categories, the conditions leading to a poorer or better predictability are discriminated. The velocity of cyclones appears to be determinant in the predictability of the location, the slower the cyclone the better the forecast location. Particularly, the position of stationary lows located in the Gulf of Genoa is remarkably well predicted. The intensity of deep and rapid-intensification cyclones, occurring mostly during winter, is for its part particularly poorly predicted. This study provides the first systematic evaluation of the cyclone predictability in the Mediterranean and opens the way to identify the key processes leading to forecast errors in the region.

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Benjamin Doiteau, Florian Pantillon, Matthieu Plu, Laurent Descamps, and Thomas Rieutord

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-675', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Apr 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Benjamin Doiteau, 17 Jun 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-675', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Apr 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Benjamin Doiteau, 17 Jun 2024
Benjamin Doiteau, Florian Pantillon, Matthieu Plu, Laurent Descamps, and Thomas Rieutord
Benjamin Doiteau, Florian Pantillon, Matthieu Plu, Laurent Descamps, and Thomas Rieutord

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Short summary
The predictability of Mediterranean cyclones is investigated through a large data set of 2853 cyclones tracks, ensuring robust statistical results. The velocity of the cyclone appears to be determinant in the predictability of its position. In particular the position of specific slow cyclones located in the Gulf of Genoa is remarkably well predicted. It is also shown that the intensity of deep cyclones occuring in winter is particularly poorly predicted in the Mediterranean region.