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More tornadoes in the Mediterranean Sea due to global warming

More tornadoes in the Mediterranean Sea due to global warming

Waterspouts and tornadoes are increasingly common in Italian seas due to the rise in the temperature of water caused by global warming. This is the conclusion of a joint study carried out by ENEA and CNR, published in Scientific Report.

It all started with a tornado that struck Taranto in 2012, when the surface temperature of the Ionian Sea was 1 C° higher than the average for the period.

"Violent tornadoes are generated by thunderstorm cells, called supercells, which form only under certain meteorological conditions. Through a modeling experiment, we have demonstrated that the 1 C° of temperature variation was decisive in forming the supercell, therefore the tornado, said ENEA researcher Vincenzo Motola, one of the authors of the study. “In fact, if the temperature of the sea increases, so does its energy, which is 'released' to the supercell. However, the proportionality between the heat of the sea and the intensity of the tornado is not linear. This means that, after a certain temperature, the violence of these phenomena increases in a more than proportional way”.

ENEA processed data collected by CNR with the ESRI-Arc-GIS software, which produced a map capable of highlighting the role of orography in the development of the tornado, for example in this case in which the mountain chain of Sila has helped to create the wind conditions for the formation of the violent phenomenon.

This study has also shown that by combining the predictive modeling skills of the CNR and the ENEA skills for the creation of the maps by means of the GIS, interesting perspectives open up in the validation of models for the weather forecast and for the study of complex systems that determine the formation of extreme meteorological phenomena.

Publication date 07/04/2018
Source ENEA
Tag Life Sciences