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Abstract

The development of a hurricane-like vortex over the Mediterranean Sea was studied using (mainly) the UK Met. Office Unified Model. The Mediterranean cyclone formed in the morning of 15 January 1995 over the sea between Greece and Sicily. Strong convection was observed prior to its genesis. During the longest part of the cyclone's lifetime, strong surface fluxes and, as a result, deep convection existed in its vicinity. Its track was influenced by the surface fluxes and the flow in the wider region. The forecast of the mesoscale and limited-area models reproduced the general characteristics of the actual system as they appeared at the surface and upper-air charts and at the satellite imagery. The investigation of the cyclone's characteristics gave strong evidence (including an ‘eye’ and a warm core) to support the initial assertion that it was similar to tropical cyclones and some polar lows. Baroclinic instability does not seem particularly important, although the cyclone formed at the edge of a baroclinic zone. A numerical experiment showed the vortex did not develop in the absence of surface heat and moisture fluxes. Another experiment showed that sensible and latent heat fluxes were equally important in its development. Copyright © 2000 Royal Meteorological Society