Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
18 Jul 2008
 | 18 Jul 2008

Mesoscale heat waves induced by orography

I. Gladich, I. Gallai, D. B. Giaiotti, Gp. Mordacchini, A. Palazzo, and F. Stel

Abstract. This work is devoted to the analysis of an unusual and sudden thermal fluctuation that interested portions of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) during the night of 27 July 1983. The whole 1983 summer was extremely warm in Europe and in particular on the Italian peninsula, from the Alps down to Sicily. Nevertheless, the day of 27 July 1983 in Friuli Venezia Giulia deserves special attention because the observed maximum temperatures did not occur during day-time but during night-time (from 23:00 up to 24:00 LT, 21:00–22:00 UTC). Peaks of 34.8°C and values of relative humidity of the order of 28% were registered by the official network of weather stations. This event interested mainly the central-eastern part of the plain of Friuli Venezia Giulia, a few kilometers far from the Slovenian border and relieves. The thermal anomalies lasted up to an hour, then temperatures decreased toward values more usual for the climate of the month. The study of this event is carried out with the aid of the AR-WRF numerical atmospheric model, initialized through the ECMWF analysis. The numerical simulations highlight the important role played by orography, jointly with the peculiar thermal structure of the atmosphere, for the enhancing of the internal wave pattern over that area. According to the sensitivity studies realized, the amplification of the internal wave pattern might represent a possible explanation for that meteorological enigma.