Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
27 Apr 2010
 | 27 Apr 2010

The seasonal characteristics of the breeze circulation at a coastal Mediterranean site in South Italy

S. Federico, L. Pasqualoni, A. M. Sempreviva, L. De Leo, E. Avolio, C. R. Calidonna, and C. Bellecci

Abstract. We present a study on the characteristics of the sea breeze flow at a coastal site located in the centre of the Mediterranean basin at the southern tip of Italy. This study is finalized to add new data on breeze circulations over a narrow peninsula and present a unique experimental coastal site at about 600 m from the coastline in a flat open area at the foot of a mountain chain located in a region of complex orography. We study the seasonal behaviour of the sea-land breeze circulation by analysing two years of hourly data of wind speed and direction, temperature, radiation and relative humidity from a surface meteorological station, eighteen-months data from a wind profiler, and two-year data from the ECMWF analysis.

Results show that breezes dominate the local circulation and play a major role for the local climate. They are modulated by the season, through the sea-land temperature difference and the large-scale flow. The large-scale forcing acts in phase with the diurnal breeze and opposes the nocturnal breeze.

In summer, the daytime difference between the land surface temperature and the SST (Sea Surface Temperature) reaches its maximum, while the nigh-time difference has its minimum. This causes a strong, frequent and intense diurnal breeze and a weak nocturnal breeze.

In winter and fall the nocturnal difference between the sea and land surface temperature reaches a maximum value, while the diurnal difference is at its minimum value. This causes a strong, frequent and intense nocturnal breeze despite of the large-scale forcing that is usually opposed to local-scale flow.