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The Development and Assessment of a Model-, Grid-, and Basin-Independent Tropical Cyclone Detection Scheme

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  • 1 Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

A novel approach to tropical cyclone (TC) detection in coarse-resolution numerical model data is introduced and assessed. This approach differs from traditional detectors in two main ways. First, it was developed and tuned using 20 yr of ECMWF Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) data, rather than using climate model data. This ensures that the detector is independent of any climate models to which it will later be applied. Second, only relatively large-scale parameters resolvable in climate models are included, in order to minimize any grid-resolution dependence on parameter thresholds. This approach is taken in an attempt to construct a unified TC detection procedure applicable to all climate models without the need for any further tuning or adjustment.

Unlike traditional detectors that seek to identify TCs directly, the authors' method seeks to identify conditions favorable for TC formation. Favorable TC formation regions at the center of closed circulations in the lower troposphere to the midtroposphere are identified using a low-deformation vorticity parameter. Additional relative and specific humidity thresholds are applied to ensure the thermodynamic environment is favorable, and a vertical wind shear threshold is applied to eliminate storms in a destructive shear environment. A further requirement is that thresholds for all parameters must be satisfied for at least 48 h before a TC is deemed to have developed.

A thorough assessment of the detector performance is provided. It is demonstrated that the method reproduces realistic TC genesis frequency and spatial distributions in the ERA-Interim data. Application of the detector to four climate models is presented in a companion paper.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Tory, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia. E-mail: k.tory@bom.gov.au

Abstract

A novel approach to tropical cyclone (TC) detection in coarse-resolution numerical model data is introduced and assessed. This approach differs from traditional detectors in two main ways. First, it was developed and tuned using 20 yr of ECMWF Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) data, rather than using climate model data. This ensures that the detector is independent of any climate models to which it will later be applied. Second, only relatively large-scale parameters resolvable in climate models are included, in order to minimize any grid-resolution dependence on parameter thresholds. This approach is taken in an attempt to construct a unified TC detection procedure applicable to all climate models without the need for any further tuning or adjustment.

Unlike traditional detectors that seek to identify TCs directly, the authors' method seeks to identify conditions favorable for TC formation. Favorable TC formation regions at the center of closed circulations in the lower troposphere to the midtroposphere are identified using a low-deformation vorticity parameter. Additional relative and specific humidity thresholds are applied to ensure the thermodynamic environment is favorable, and a vertical wind shear threshold is applied to eliminate storms in a destructive shear environment. A further requirement is that thresholds for all parameters must be satisfied for at least 48 h before a TC is deemed to have developed.

A thorough assessment of the detector performance is provided. It is demonstrated that the method reproduces realistic TC genesis frequency and spatial distributions in the ERA-Interim data. Application of the detector to four climate models is presented in a companion paper.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Tory, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia. E-mail: k.tory@bom.gov.au
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