Strong winds of convective source in Barcelona on 12 June 2012


DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2013.10.02

pp.: 13 - 23


During the afternoon of 12 June 2012 a meteorological phenomenon, characterized by a sudden increase in wind speed and a sharp change in its direction, occurred in the city of Barcelona and surrounding areas. The strong gusts of wind that blew on the Barcelona coastline raised a significant amount of sand from the beaches in the city, which caused a significant reduction in visibility on the coastline, like a small sandstorm. The operational disruption of Barcelona-El Prat Airport, located a few kilometers southwest of it, was also noteworthy, and led to the abortion of several landings. As indicated, moderate or strong winds affected other regions both north and south of the city of Barcelona, although generally with less intensity. This study has carried out a characterization of the phenomenon and has made a hypothesis about the gust front of convective source, associated to the showers and thunderstorms observed north of the city, as the main cause of the phenomenon. For this purpose, remote sensing data and surface automatic observation have been specifically analyzed. As for the radar data used, there is a novel use of some products such as the Doppler speed spectrum and the wind shear. The early detection of the phenomenon made it possible to notify the airport about the arrival of the gust front in advance, which helped in the track configuration changes that were made. It is, therefore, a good example of nowcasting with immediate practical application.


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Partially funded through grants CGL2007-29820-E/CLI, CGL2008-02804-E/, CGL2009-07417-E and CGL2011-14046-E of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation