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The Winds of the Mediterranean

Sirocco, scirocco, jugo or, rarely, siroc is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe. It is known in North Africa by the Arabic word qibli or ghibli (قبلي i.e. "coming from the qibla".)

Contents

Origin of name

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

Scirocco and Sirocco are Italian names from which its Greek name, "σιρόκος" (sirokos), is derived, while jugo is its name in Croatia, Montenegro and ghibli in Libya. 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 contains more moisture and is known as the marin. 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 4 days. In Malta, it is known as xlokk. [1] In Levantine Arabic (Lebanon, Syria) a similar wind is referred to as شلوق shlūq.

Development

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.[2] 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

The Sirocco causes dusty dry conditions along the northern coast of Africa, storms in the Mediterranean Sea, and cold 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).

Similar winds

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

See also

References

  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica. Scirocco/xlokk Retrieved on 2007-05-19.
  2. ^ Golden Gate Weather Services. Names of Winds. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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