MCS with marked gust front over south-west Corsica

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MCS with marked gust front over south-west Corsica.

Date & Time
09 August 2006 00:00 UTC

More information and detailed analysis of the feature can be found in the In Depth section.


In Depth

by Stefano Gallino (ARPAL), Didier Wisdorff (Meteo France) and Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT)

Jump to images

On the afternoon of 9 August 2006 unstable conditions were present over the Western Mediterranean due to a weak depression at low level (the well-known 'dorsale' of 1015 hPa from Golf of Gascogne to the Massif Central, see surface chart at 12:00 UTC, JPG, 156 KB, source: Météo France) semi-stationary over a warm sea. High values of CAPE (around 3000 J/kg) were observed especially around Corsica (see radiosounding of Ajaccio at 12:00 UTC, JPG, 169 KB, source: Météo France).

Around 11:00 UTC a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) developed in the southern part of Corsica, in an area where deep convection is less frequent than the more regular occurrence over the higher Monte Cinto (2710 m) in the northern part of the island (see animation of HRV images in development phase, 11:15–14:00 UTC, MP4, 138 KB).

During the dissipation phase of the MCS, a spectacular semi-circular gust front emerged from the western part of the MCS core (animation of HRV images in dissipation phase, 14:15–15:45 UTC, MP4, 97 KB). The gust front, highlighted by a line of clouds at low levels, was clearly visible in MSG images thanks to the absence of high and medium clouds (see estimated Cloud Top Temperature at 14:15 UTC, JPG, 99 KB, source: Météo France).

With the time-resolution of 15 minutes of MSG imagery, it was possible to estimate the intensity and direction of mean winds in the gust front and provide an early warning to sailors. Initially (13:15 UTC) the semicircular gust front moved WNW with an estimated mean velocity of around 15–20 km/h; after the dissipation of the MCS core (15:00-15:30 UTC) the front was still present about 50 km offshore from Girolata and finally disappeard after 16:00 UTC. It is reasonable to estimate that in the area affected by the gust front, there were gusty winds at sea level with twice the velocity (30/40 km/h) with respect to the mean velocity of the front itself and because of this, potentially dangerous for even the larger sailing boats.


Meteosat-8 High-resolution Visible (HRV) Images

Met-8, 09 August 2006, 14:15 UTC
Channel 12 (HRV)
Large Area (JPG, 182 KB)
Animation (11:15–15:45 UTC, MP4, 1 MB)
Met-8, 09 August 2006, 14:45 UTC
Channel 12 (HRV)
Large Area (JPG, 146 KB)

See also:

Monitoring airmass/moisture boundaries with MSG (4 October 2005)
Convective storm with marked gust front over Darmstadt (29 June 2005)
Severe convection over Northern Italy (14 August 2003)

Met-8, 09 August 2006, 15:15 UTC
Channel 12 (HRV)
Large Area (JPG, 148 KB)
Met-8, 09 August 2006, 15:45 UTC
Channel 12 (HRV)
Large Area (JPG, 148 KB)
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