Transition extra-tropicale d'ouragans en Atlantique Nord et impact sur la prévisibilité d'événements extrêmes en Méditerranée

Abstract : The extratropical transition is the transformation of a tropical cyclone into an extratropical cyclone during its migration towards the midlatitudes. During its interaction with its new baroclinic environment, the cyclone can reintensify through complex dynamical and diabatic processes. It can also have a impact downstream from the strenghtening of a Rossby wave train, which quickly propagates and of which the breaking is often the trigger of extreme weather events. The complexity of dynamical and diabatic processes lead then to a reduction of the downstream predictability. Hurricanes Florence and Helene over the North Atlantic contributed that way to the triggering of extreme weather events in September 2006 in the Mediterranean, respectively, an intense precipitation event and a rarer phenomenon, a Medicane (Mediterranean hurricane). Helene was distinguished from Florence by its predominant diabatic processes during the reintensification over a warmer ocean, from which it maintained tropical characteristics. Helene was an exceptional case from its three reintensifications in three days, induced by the elongation of three filaments of potential vorticity, in addition to the development of the Medicane downstream. Both extreme weather events in the Mediterranean were missed from the midrange deterministic forecast. As diabatic processes control the impact of the hurricanes on the Rossby wave trains, the uncertainty in their description was investigated. For the first time, numerical simulations were performed with the Meso-NH model over a large domain with an explicit resolution of deep convection, taking advantage of the massive parallel computing capabilities of the model. A weak sensitivity to the horizontal resolution of the model was found in the precipitation of the hurricanes, thus in their impact on the Rossby wave trains and in the extreme weather events in the Mediterranean. The track of Helene showed instead a high sensitivity to its phasing with the Rossby wave train, that was influenced by the horizontal resolution of the model. This high sensitivity was found again in the ensemble forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, where the developement of the Medicane required the phasing of Helene with the Rossby wave train. Targeted perturbation of initial conditions around Helene and the upstream trough were sufficient to predict the Medicane at 108-h lead time in a Meso-NH simulation. The results show the possible impact of extratropical transitions over the North Atlantic, which take place during the same season as most high precipitation episodes in the Mediterranean. A reduction in the uncertainty of the forecast of an extratropical transition is therefore one of the issues for an improvement of the forecast of extreme weather events in the Autumn season, over the Mediterranean region.
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Florian Pantillon. Transition extra-tropicale d'ouragans en Atlantique Nord et impact sur la prévisibilité d'événements extrêmes en Méditerranée. Physique Atmosphérique et Océanique [physics.ao-ph]. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2012. Français. ⟨tel-00755220⟩

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