Winter synoptic-scale variability over the Mediterranean Basin under future climate conditions as simulated by the ECHAM5

Christoph Cornelius Raible, Baruch Ziv, Hadas Saaroni, Martin Wild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Changes of the winter climate in the Mediterranean Basin (MB) for future A2 conditions are investigated for the period 2071-2100 and compared with the control period 1961-1990. The analysis is based on timeslice simulations of the latest version of the ECHAM model. First, the control simulation is evaluated with reanalysis data. The emphasis is given to synoptic and large-scale features and their variability in the MB. The model is found to be capable of reproducing the main features of the MB and southern Europe in the winter season. Second, the A2 simulation is compared with the control simulation, revealing considerable changes of the synoptic variability. Focusing on the synoptic spatio-temporal scale aims to unfold the dynamic background of the climatic changes. The Mediterranean cyclones, which are individually detected and tracked, decrease by 10% in the Western Mediterranean (WM) whereas no significant change is found in the Eastern Mediterranean. The cyclone intensity is slightly reduced in the entire region. To understand these changes, the underlying dynamical background is analyzed. It is found that changes in baroclinicity, static stability, transformation from eddy kinetic energy to kinetic energy of the mean flow and stationary wave activity are significant in particular in the WM and the coastline of North Africa. The reduction of cyclonic activity severely impacts the precipitation mainly in the southern part of the WM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-488
Number of pages16
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF, grant no. 764/06), the European Science Foundation (ESF) within MedCLIVAR, the Research authority of the Open University of Israel, and the National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) on Climate funded by the Swiss National Science foundation. Simulations are carried out at the Swiss National Computing Centre (CSCS). The ERA40 reanalysis data were provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).


  • A2 scenario
  • Cyclones
  • Eddy kinetic energy
  • Mediterranean


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