Global Geological And Climatic Events

What are Medicanes?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Medicanes

Mains level: Frequent landfalls of tropical cyclones in India

Very recently, a medicane named Ianos made landfall along the coast of Greece and caused heavy rainfall and flooding on the islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca.

Try this PYQ:

In the South Atlantic and South-Eastern Pacific regions in tropical latitudes, cyclone does not originate. What is the reason?

(a) Sea surface temperatures are low

(b) Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone seldom occurs

(c) Coriolis force is too weak

(d) Absence of land in those regions

What are Medicanes?

  • Medicanes are extra-tropical hurricanes observed over the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Medicanes occur more in colder waters than tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons.
  • Hence, the cores of these storms are also cold, as compared to the warm cores of tropical cyclones.
  • Warmer cores tend to carry more moisture (hence rainfall), are bigger in size and have swifter winds.
  • The main societal hazard posed by Medicanes is not usually from destructive winds but through life-threatening torrential rains and flash floods.

Why in news?

  • This year is a mild La Niña, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
  • La Niña is the cooling phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, as opposed to the warming El Niño phase.
  • It is characterized by the unusual cooling of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • A La Niña produces more rain in the central-eastern part, where most of the Mediterranean cyclones develop.

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