Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Filters applied. Clear all
. 2017 Oct 9;7(1):12828.
doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13170-0.

Effect of a Positive Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly on a Mediterranean Tornadic Supercell

Free PMC article

Effect of a Positive Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly on a Mediterranean Tornadic Supercell

Mario Marcello Miglietta et al. Sci Rep. .
Free PMC article


Extreme events represent a topic of paramount importance and a challenge for modelling investigations. Due to the need of high-resolution models, the study of severe localized convective phenomena is even more critical, especially in relation to changes in forcing factors, such as sea surface temperatures (SSTs), in future climate scenarios. Here, we analyze the effect of changes in SSTs on the intensity of a tornadic supercell in the Mediterranean through modelling investigations. We show dramatic (nonlinear) changes for updraft helicity and vertical velocity, which measure the intensity of the supercell, even for variations of SST only of + /-1 K.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Tornado track and simulated supercell tracks. Observed tornado track (red), and supercell track simulated in the control run (yellow), in the run with SST increased by 1 K (purple), with SST increased by 0.5 K (cyan) and decreased by 0.5 K (green). (No supercell is simulated in the coldest run.) The simulated tracks are identified through the maximum vertical velocity at 500 hPa. The direction of displacement is shown with an arrow along the track. The geographic places mentioned in the text are also shown. The upper left inset shows the orography of the region (the vertical scale is magnified 15 times). (The figure has been generated with ESRI-ArcGIS, version 10.0,
Figure 2
Figure 2
SST analysis and anomaly. Mediterranean Sea Ultra High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature analysis (a, top) and positive anomaly – with respect to the climatology 1985–2005 - (b, bottom) on 28 November 2012. The daily maps are gap-free at 0.01° × 0.01 ° horizontal resolution over the Mediterranean Sea. The data are obtained from infrared measurements collected by satellite radiometers and statistical interpolation. (The figure has been created on-the-fly, using the E.U. Copernicus Marine Service Information, at the webportal:
Figure 3
Figure 3
Updraft sensitivity: (a, top) Updraft vertical velocity at 600 hPa and (b, bottom) updraft helicity simulated in the run with SST decreased by 1 K (thin dashed line) and by 0.5 K (bolded dashed line), in the control run (bolded solid line), in the run with SST increased by 0.5 K (bolded dotted line) and by 1 K (thin dotted line) from 09:00 to 11:00 UTC, 28 November 2012. The values represent the maximum simulated in the window [lat = 39.7 °N, 40.7 °N; lon = 16.7 °E, 18.0 °E], inside the area where the supercell developed. In (b) the vertical scale is logarithmic.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Lau WKM, Shi JJ, Tao WK, Kim KM. What would happen to Superstorm Sandy under the influence of a substantially warmer Atlantic Ocean? Geophys. Res. Lett. 2016;43:802–811. doi: 10.1002/2015GL067050. - DOI
    1. Ludwig P, Pinto JG, Reyers M, Gray SL. The role of anomalous SST and surface fluxes over the southeastern North Atlantic in the explosive development of windstorm Xynthia. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 2013;140:1729–1741. doi: 10.1002/qj.2253. - DOI
    1. Meredith EP, Semenov VA, Maraun D, Park W, Chernokulsky AV. Crucial role of Black Sea warming in amplifying the 2012 Krymsk precipitation extreme. Nature Geosci. 2015;8:615–619. doi: 10.1038/ngeo2483. - DOI
    1. Ricard D, Ducrocq V, Auger V. A climatology of the mesoscale environment associated with heavily precipitating events over a northwestern Mediterranean area. J. Appl. Meteorol. Clim. 2012;51:468–488. doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-11-017.1. - DOI
    1. Toreti A, et al. Characterisation of extremewinter precipitation in Mediterranean coastal sites and associated anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns. Natural Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 2010;10:1037–1050. doi: 10.5194/nhess-10-1037-2010. - DOI

Publication types