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On the Northward Motion of Midlatitude Cyclones in a Barotropic Meandering Jet

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  • 1 Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique/IPSL, Ecole Normale Supérieure/CNRS/UPMC, Paris, France
  • | 2 CNRM/GAME, Météo-France/CNRS, Toulouse, France
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Abstract

The combined effects of the deformation (horizontal stretching and shearing) and nonlinearities on the beta drift of midlatitude cyclones are studied using a barotropic quasigeostrophic model on the beta plane. It is found that, without any background flow, a cyclonic vortex moves more rapidly northward when it is initially strongly stretched along a mostly north–south direction. This meridional stretching is more efficient at forming an anticyclone to the east of the cyclone through Rossby wave radiation. The cyclone–anticyclone couple then forms a nonlinear vortex dipole that propagates mostly northward. The case of a cyclone embedded in uniformly sheared zonal flows is then studied. A cyclone evolving in an anticyclonic shear is stretched more strongly, develops a stronger anticyclone, and moves faster northward than a cyclone embedded in a cyclonic shear, which remains almost isotropic. Similar results are found in the general case of uniformly sheared nonzonal flows.

The evolution of cyclones is also investigated in the case of a more realistic meandering jet whose relative vorticity gradient creates an effective beta and whose deformation field is spatially varying. A statistical study reveals a strong correlation among the cyclone’s stretching, the anticyclone strength, and the velocity toward the jet center. These different observations agree with the more idealized cases. Finally, these results provide a rationale for the existence of preferential zones for the jet-crossing phase: that is, the phase when a cyclone crosses a jet from its anticyclonic to its cyclonic side.

Corresponding author address: Guillaume Lapeyre, LMD/IPSL, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 24 Rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris, France. E-mail: glapeyre@lmd.ens.fr

Abstract

The combined effects of the deformation (horizontal stretching and shearing) and nonlinearities on the beta drift of midlatitude cyclones are studied using a barotropic quasigeostrophic model on the beta plane. It is found that, without any background flow, a cyclonic vortex moves more rapidly northward when it is initially strongly stretched along a mostly north–south direction. This meridional stretching is more efficient at forming an anticyclone to the east of the cyclone through Rossby wave radiation. The cyclone–anticyclone couple then forms a nonlinear vortex dipole that propagates mostly northward. The case of a cyclone embedded in uniformly sheared zonal flows is then studied. A cyclone evolving in an anticyclonic shear is stretched more strongly, develops a stronger anticyclone, and moves faster northward than a cyclone embedded in a cyclonic shear, which remains almost isotropic. Similar results are found in the general case of uniformly sheared nonzonal flows.

The evolution of cyclones is also investigated in the case of a more realistic meandering jet whose relative vorticity gradient creates an effective beta and whose deformation field is spatially varying. A statistical study reveals a strong correlation among the cyclone’s stretching, the anticyclone strength, and the velocity toward the jet center. These different observations agree with the more idealized cases. Finally, these results provide a rationale for the existence of preferential zones for the jet-crossing phase: that is, the phase when a cyclone crosses a jet from its anticyclonic to its cyclonic side.

Corresponding author address: Guillaume Lapeyre, LMD/IPSL, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 24 Rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris, France. E-mail: glapeyre@lmd.ens.fr
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