North-western Mediterranean sea-breeze circulation in a regional climate system model

Abstract : In the Mediterranean basin, moisture transport can occur over large distance from remote regions by the synoptic circulation or more locally by sea breezes, driven by land-sea thermal contrast. Sea breezes play an important role in inland transport of moisture especially between late spring and early fall. In order to explicitly represent the two-way interactions at the atmosphere-ocean interface in the Mediterranean region and quantify the role of air-sea feedbacks on regional meteorology and climate, simulations at 20 km resolution performed with WRF regional climate model (RCM) and MORCE atmosphere-ocean regional climate model (AORCM) coupling WRF and NEMO-MED12 in the frame of HyMeX/MED-CORDEX are compared. One result of this study is that these simulations reproduce remarkably well the intensity, direction and inland penetration of the sea breeze and even the existence of the shallow sea breeze despite the overestimate of temperature over land in both simulations. The coupled simulation provides a more realistic representation of the evolution of the SST field at fine scale than the atmosphere-only one. Temperature and moisture anomalies are created in direct response to the SST anomaly and are advected by the sea breeze over land. However, the SST anomalies are not of sufficient magnitude to affect the large-scale sea-breeze circulation. The temperature anomalies are quickly damped by strong surface heating over land, whereas the water vapor mixing ratio anomalies are transported further inland. The inland limit of significance is imposed by the vertical dilution in a deeper continental boundary-layer.
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Philippe Drobinski, Sophie Bastin, Thomas Arsouze, Karine Beranger, Emmanouil Flaounas, et al.. North-western Mediterranean sea-breeze circulation in a regional climate system model. Climate Dynamics, Springer Verlag, 2018, 51 (3), pp.1077-1093. ⟨10.1007/s00382-017-3595-z⟩. ⟨insu-01500417⟩

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