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A Global Climatology of Extratropical Transition. Part I: Characteristics across Basins

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  • 1 Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • | 2 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
  • | 3 Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
  • | 4 Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • | 5 NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York
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Abstract

The authors present a global climatology of tropical cyclones (TCs) that undergo extratropical transition (ET). ET is objectively defined based on a TC’s trajectory through the cyclone phase space (CPS), which is calculated using storm tracks from 1979–2017 best track data and geopotential height fields from reanalysis datasets. Two reanalyses are used and compared for this purpose, the Japanese 55-yr Reanalysis and the ECMWF interim reanalysis. The results are used to study the seasonal and geographical distributions of storms undergoing ET and interbasin differences in the statistics of ET occurrence. About 50% of all TCs in the North Atlantic and the western North Pacific undergo ET. In the Southern Hemisphere, ET fractions range from about 20% in the south Indian Ocean and the Australian region to 45% in the South Pacific. In the majority of ETs, TCs become thermally asymmetric before forming a cold core. However, a substantial fraction of TCs take the reverse pathway, developing a cold core before becoming thermally asymmetric. This pathway is most common in the eastern North Pacific and the North Atlantic. Different ET pathways can be linked to different geographical trajectories and environmental settings. In ETs over warmer sea surface temperatures, TCs tend to lose their thermal symmetry while still maintaining a warm core. Landfalls by TCs undergoing ET occur 3–4 times per year in the North Atlantic and 7–10 times per year in the western North Pacific, while coastal regions in the Australian region are affected once every 1–2 years.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0518.1.s1.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

This article has a companion article which can be found at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0052.1.

Publisher’s Note: This article was revised on 5 August 2019 in order fix a typographical error in section 3e.

Corresponding author: Melanie Bieli, mb4036@columbia.edu

Abstract

The authors present a global climatology of tropical cyclones (TCs) that undergo extratropical transition (ET). ET is objectively defined based on a TC’s trajectory through the cyclone phase space (CPS), which is calculated using storm tracks from 1979–2017 best track data and geopotential height fields from reanalysis datasets. Two reanalyses are used and compared for this purpose, the Japanese 55-yr Reanalysis and the ECMWF interim reanalysis. The results are used to study the seasonal and geographical distributions of storms undergoing ET and interbasin differences in the statistics of ET occurrence. About 50% of all TCs in the North Atlantic and the western North Pacific undergo ET. In the Southern Hemisphere, ET fractions range from about 20% in the south Indian Ocean and the Australian region to 45% in the South Pacific. In the majority of ETs, TCs become thermally asymmetric before forming a cold core. However, a substantial fraction of TCs take the reverse pathway, developing a cold core before becoming thermally asymmetric. This pathway is most common in the eastern North Pacific and the North Atlantic. Different ET pathways can be linked to different geographical trajectories and environmental settings. In ETs over warmer sea surface temperatures, TCs tend to lose their thermal symmetry while still maintaining a warm core. Landfalls by TCs undergoing ET occur 3–4 times per year in the North Atlantic and 7–10 times per year in the western North Pacific, while coastal regions in the Australian region are affected once every 1–2 years.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0518.1.s1.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

This article has a companion article which can be found at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0052.1.

Publisher’s Note: This article was revised on 5 August 2019 in order fix a typographical error in section 3e.

Corresponding author: Melanie Bieli, mb4036@columbia.edu

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