03 Aug 2021

03 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

A Characterisation of Alpine Mesocyclone Occurrence

Monika Feldmann1,2, Urs Germann2, Marco Gabella2, and Alexis Berne1 Monika Feldmann et al.
  • 1LTE, EPFL; GR C2 565; 1015 Lausanne; Switzerland
  • 2RSN, Meteoswiss; Via ai Monti 146; 6605 Locarno; Switzerland

Abstract. This work presents a characterization of mesocyclone occurrence and frequency in the Alpine region, as observed from the Swiss operational radar network. Five years of radar data are processed with a thunderstorm detection and tracking algorithm and subsequently with a mesocyclone detection algorithm. A quality assessment of the radar domain provides additional information on the reliability of the tracking algorithms throughout the domain. The resulting data set provides the first insight into the spatio-temporal distribution of mesocyclones in the Swiss domain, with a more detailed focus on the influence of synoptic weather, diurnal cycle and terrain. Both on the northern and southern side of the Alps mesocyclonic signatures in thunderstorms are frequent. The regions with highest occurrence are predominantly the Southern Prealps and to a lesser degree the Northern Prealps. The parallels to hail research over the same region are discussed.

Monika Feldmann et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on wcd-2021-53', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on wcd-2021-53', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 Aug 2021

Monika Feldmann et al.

Data sets

Radar-based mesocyclone detections in Switzerland from 2016-2020 Feldmann, Monika; Germann, Urs; Gabella, Marco; Berne, Alexis

Model code and software

Thunderstorm Detection and Tracking - T-DaTing Monika Feldmann (and pysteps developers)

Monika Feldmann et al.


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Short summary
Mesocyclones are the rotating updraft of supercell thunderstorms that present a particularly hazardous subset of thunderstorms. A first time characterization of the spatio-temporal occurrence of mesocyclones in the Alpine region is presented, using 5 years of Swiss operational radar data. We investigate parallels to hailstorms, particularly the influence of large-scale flow, daily cycle and terrain. Improving understanding of mesocyclones is valuable for risk assessment and warning purposes.