Sirocco

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The winds of the Mediterranean

Sirocco, scirocco, /sɪˈrɒk/, jugo or, rarely, siroc (Catalan: Xaloc, Greek: Σορόκος) is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe. It is derived from the North African Arabic word for south qibli (قبلي) etymologically derived from the word "qibla".

Origin of name[edit]

A sirocco from Libya blowing dust over the Mediterranean, Malta, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece

Scirocco and Sirocco are from the Greek name, "σιρόκος" (sirokos),[1] while ghibli is its name in Libya. The name jugo, pronounced [jûɡo], used in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic comes from the Slavic word jug, which means south. The origin of the Italian "scirocco" might be related to the Arabic شرقي sharqī "eastern", for easterly wind. The sirocco reaching the south of France is much dryer than the marin, which is a warm, humid wind also moving to the northwest. In the Canary Islands this oppressive, hot, dust bearing wind is called la calima. The name of sirocco in the southeast of Spain is leveche, and xaloc (pronounced "shaLOC") in Catalan. The leveche usually carries red Sahara dust and is associated with storms and heavy rain, the wind being very strong, lasting about four days. In Portugal, it is known as siroco and xaroco. In Malta, it is known as xlokk.[2] In Levantine Arabic (Lebanon, Syria) a similar wind is referred to as شلوق shlūq.

Development[edit]

It arises from a warm, dry, tropical airmass that is pulled northward by low-pressure cells moving eastward across the Mediterranean Sea, with the wind originating in the Arabian or Sahara deserts.[3] The hotter, drier continental air mixes with the cooler, wetter air of the maritime cyclone, and the counter-clockwise circulation of the low propels the mixed air across the southern coasts of Europe.

Effects[edit]

The Sirocco causes dusty dry conditions along the northern coast of Africa, storms in the Mediterranean Sea, and cool wet weather in Europe. The Sirocco's duration may be as short as half a day or may last several days. Many people attribute health problems to the Sirocco either because of the heat and dust along the African coastal regions or because of the cool dampness in Europe. The dust within the Sirocco winds can cause abrasion in mechanical devices and penetrate buildings.

Sirocco winds with speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour are most common during the autumn and the spring. They reach a peak in March and in November when it is very hot, with a maximum speed of about 100 km/h (55 knots).

Combined with a rising tide, Sirocco is a factor responsible for the Acqua Alta phenomenon in the Venetian Lagoon.

Similar winds[edit]

Other prominent wind systems in the region are the bora/bura/burja (northwestern) and the llebeig/lebeccio/lebić (southwestern).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Glossary of Meteorology (2012-01-26). "Sirocco". American Meteorological Society. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica. Scirocco/xlokk Retrieved on 2007-05-19.
  3. ^ Golden Gate Weather Services. Names of Winds. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.

External links[edit]