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A Comparison of Extratropical Cyclones in Recent Reanalyses ERA-Interim, NASA MERRA, NCEP CFSR, and JRA-25

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  • 1 National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Extratropical cyclones are identified and compared using data from four recent reanalyses for the winter periods in both hemispheres. Results show the largest differences occur between the older lower resolution 25-yr Japanese Reanalysis (JRA-25) when compared with the newer high resolution reanalyses, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere (SH). Spatial differences between the newest reanalyses are small in both hemispheres and generally not significant except in some common regions associated with cyclogenesis close to orography. Differences in the cyclone maximum intensitites are generally related to spatial resolution except in the NASA Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (NASA MERRA), which has larger intensities for several different measures. Matching storms between reanalyses shows the number matched between the ECMWF Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) and the other reanalyses is similar in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). In the SH the number matched between JRA-25 and ERA-Interim is lower than in the NH; however, for NASA MERRA and the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (NCEP CFSR), the number matched is similar to the NH. The mean separation of the identically same cyclones is typically less than 2° geodesic in both hemispheres for the latest reanalyses, whereas JRA-25 compared with the other reanalyses has a broader distribution in the SH, indicating greater uncertainty. The instantaneous intensity differences for matched storms shows narrow distributions for pressure, while for winds and vorticity the distributions are much broader, indicating larger uncertainty typical of smaller-scale fields. Composite cyclone diagnostics show that cyclones are very similar between the reanalyses, with differences being related to the intensities, consistent with the intensity results. Overall, results show NH cyclones correspond well between reanalyses, with a significant improvement in the SH for the latest reanalyses, indicating a convergence between reanalyses for cyclone properties.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Hodges, ESSC, University of Reading, 3 Earley Gate, Reading RG6 6AL, United Kingdom. E-mail: k.i.hodges@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

Extratropical cyclones are identified and compared using data from four recent reanalyses for the winter periods in both hemispheres. Results show the largest differences occur between the older lower resolution 25-yr Japanese Reanalysis (JRA-25) when compared with the newer high resolution reanalyses, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere (SH). Spatial differences between the newest reanalyses are small in both hemispheres and generally not significant except in some common regions associated with cyclogenesis close to orography. Differences in the cyclone maximum intensitites are generally related to spatial resolution except in the NASA Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (NASA MERRA), which has larger intensities for several different measures. Matching storms between reanalyses shows the number matched between the ECMWF Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) and the other reanalyses is similar in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). In the SH the number matched between JRA-25 and ERA-Interim is lower than in the NH; however, for NASA MERRA and the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (NCEP CFSR), the number matched is similar to the NH. The mean separation of the identically same cyclones is typically less than 2° geodesic in both hemispheres for the latest reanalyses, whereas JRA-25 compared with the other reanalyses has a broader distribution in the SH, indicating greater uncertainty. The instantaneous intensity differences for matched storms shows narrow distributions for pressure, while for winds and vorticity the distributions are much broader, indicating larger uncertainty typical of smaller-scale fields. Composite cyclone diagnostics show that cyclones are very similar between the reanalyses, with differences being related to the intensities, consistent with the intensity results. Overall, results show NH cyclones correspond well between reanalyses, with a significant improvement in the SH for the latest reanalyses, indicating a convergence between reanalyses for cyclone properties.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Hodges, ESSC, University of Reading, 3 Earley Gate, Reading RG6 6AL, United Kingdom. E-mail: k.i.hodges@reading.ac.uk
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