High-resolution mapping of Bora winds in the northern Adriatic Sea using synthetic aperture radar Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The Adriatic Sea is regularly subjected to strong Bora wind events from the northeast during winter. The events have a strong effect on the oceanography in the Adriatic, driving basin-scale gyres that determine the transport of biogeochemical material and extracting large amounts of heat. The Bora is known to have multiple surface wind jets linked to the surrounding orography and have been the focus of many studies, but it has not been possible to describe the detailed spatial structure of these jets by in situ observations. Using high-resolution spaceborne RADARSAT-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images collected during an active Bora period (23 January–16 February 2003), we created a series of high-resolution (300 m) maps of the wind field. The obtained winds show reasonable agreement with several in situ wind observations, with an RMS wind speed error of 3.6 m/s, slightly higher than the 2–3 m/s errors reported in previous studies. These SAR images reveal the spatial structure of the Bora wind in unprecedented detail, showing several new features. In the Senj region of Croatia, several images show rhythmic structure with wavelengths of 2–3 km that may reflect Bora pulsation seen at fixed locations by previous investigators. Along the Italian coast, several images show a wide (20–30 km) band of northwesterly winds that abruptly change to the northeasterly Bora winds further offshore. Meteorological model results suggest that these northwesterly winds are consistent with those of a barrier jet forming along the Italian Apennine mountain chain.

publication date

  • April 24, 2010