Articles | Volume 28, issue 10
20 Oct 2010
 | 20 Oct 2010

Characteristics of shallow thermally driven flow in the complex topography of the south-eastern Adriatic

M. T. Prtenjak, I. Tomažić, I. Kavčič, and S. Đivanović

Abstract. Characteristics of thermally induced flow, namely the sea breeze, are investigated along the south-eastern Adriatic. The chosen period 24–25 April 2006 favoured sea breeze development and simultaneously allowed a comparison of the large-scale wind influence (north-westerly wind versus south-easterly wind) and the complex terrain on the local circulations. Particular attention is paid to the small-scale formation of the wind field, convergence zones (CZs), channelling flows and small scale eddies, especially in the vicinity of two airports in the central part of south-eastern Adriatic. The results are based on wind measurements (from meteorological surface stations, radiosoundings, satellite data and sodar data) and further supplemented by model data at fine grid spacing.

This study shows the formation of numerous irregular daytime and nighttime CZs, which occurred along the coastline in the lee of mountains and over the larger, elongated islands. The results show that the above mentioned airports are surrounded by daytime CZ formations within the lowermost 1000 m and associated updrafts of 1 m s−1, especially if CZs are maintained by the north-westerly large-scale winds. Whereas the daytime CZ was generated due to merged sea breezes, the weaker and shallower nighttime CZs were formed by wind convergence of the seaward breezes, and significantly modified by the large-scale flow of the topography (e.g., accelerated flow in the sea channels and substantial swirled flows around the islands).

The passes between the coastal mountain peaks changed the inflow penetration, provoking the increase in wind speed of the channelled flow. The strongest sea breeze channelling was observed above the valley of the Neretva River, where the onshore flow reached 40 km inland with a strength of 8 m s−1, and the highly asymmetric offshore part was confined within the sea channel.