Examining the precipitation associated with medicanes in the high-resolution ERA-5 reanalysis data

Wei Zhang, Gabriele Villarini, Enrico Scoccimarro, Francesco Napolitano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Medicanes, hurricane-like cyclonic systems in the Mediterranean Sea, are becoming an increasingly severe problem for many Mediterranean countries because climate projections suggest a higher risk under anthropogenic forcing even under an intermediate scenario. Due to the small size of these weather systems, high-resolution data are required to better resolve their structure and evolution. Here we investigate medicanes from the perspective of precipitation using the high-resolution (0.25°) ERA-5 reanalysis data released by European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. Overall, we identify a total of 59 medicanes from ERA-5 data during 1979–2017, with marked year-to-year variability. These storms tend to occur mostly between September and March. Overall, the intensity of medicanes (i.e., maximum wind) is lower than that of tropical cyclones, and this is also true for precipitation. The composite precipitation of medicanes increases from the centre to ~0.8° and then decreases. During 1979–2017, many regions along the Mediterranean Sea experienced over 20 extreme precipitation events (i.e., days) which were caused by medicanes, accounting for 2–5% of all the extreme precipitation events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E126-E132
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • ERA-5 reanalysis
  • Medicanes
  • extremes
  • precipitation


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