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A Numerical Modeling Study of Mesoscale Cyclogenesis to the East of the Korean Peninsula

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
  • | 2 Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Abstract

Numerical simulations and the analysis of observational data are employed to understand the mesoscale cyclogenesis in a polar airstream that occurred over the sea to the east of the Korean peninsula on 28–29 January 1995. The observational analysis shows that a mesoscale low develops over the southeastern East Sea (Japan Sea) on 29 January 1995. Satellite imagery also indicates that a meso-β-scale vortex forms on the lee side of the northern Korean mountain complex (KMC), which is located in the northern Korean peninsula, and that a meso-α-scale cyclone develops over the southeastern East Sea at a later time. The mesoscale cyclone forms in the lower troposphere with strong baroclinicity and cyclonic circulation under the influence of an upper-level synoptic-scale cold vortex.

Numerical simulation has captured major features of the observed cyclogenesis very well. The cyclogenesis occurs in a progressive manner. Basically, four distinctive stages of the cyclogenesis are identified. 1) First, a surface pressure trough forms on the lee side of the KMC under a northwesterly synoptic-scale flow that is deflected anticyclonically over the KMC. 2) Second, the lee trough deepens further into a strong convergence zone and a meso-β-scale vortex. 3) Next, the meso-β-scale vortex develops into a meso-α-scale vortex as the vortex and the trough begin to move southeastward from the lee of the KMC. 4) Finally, the surface trough deepens into a closed low and the meso-α-scale vortex becomes collocated with this deepening surface low to form a meso-α-scale cyclone over the southeastern East Sea.

Several sensitivity experiments are performed to isolate the effects of a topography, warmer sea surface, diurnal thermal forcing, and latent heat release. During stages 1 and 2, it is found that the KMC and low-level baroclinicity are responsible for generating the strong lee trough and vortex. During stage 3, the development of the meso-α-scale vortex is brought on by the tilting of horizontal vorticity and vertical stretching in a synoptic-scale cyclonic circulation. In the final stage, the condensational heating plays the key role for the development of the meso-α-scale cyclone under the influence of an upper-level synoptic-scale cold vortex. The presence of the warm sea surface is found to be a necessary condition for the development of a polar air convergence zone and the mesoscale cyclone. It is also found that the low-level baroclinicity is essential for the present case of mesoscale cyclogenesis.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Tae-Young Lee, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Korea.

Email: lty@atmos.yonsei.ac.kr

Abstract

Numerical simulations and the analysis of observational data are employed to understand the mesoscale cyclogenesis in a polar airstream that occurred over the sea to the east of the Korean peninsula on 28–29 January 1995. The observational analysis shows that a mesoscale low develops over the southeastern East Sea (Japan Sea) on 29 January 1995. Satellite imagery also indicates that a meso-β-scale vortex forms on the lee side of the northern Korean mountain complex (KMC), which is located in the northern Korean peninsula, and that a meso-α-scale cyclone develops over the southeastern East Sea at a later time. The mesoscale cyclone forms in the lower troposphere with strong baroclinicity and cyclonic circulation under the influence of an upper-level synoptic-scale cold vortex.

Numerical simulation has captured major features of the observed cyclogenesis very well. The cyclogenesis occurs in a progressive manner. Basically, four distinctive stages of the cyclogenesis are identified. 1) First, a surface pressure trough forms on the lee side of the KMC under a northwesterly synoptic-scale flow that is deflected anticyclonically over the KMC. 2) Second, the lee trough deepens further into a strong convergence zone and a meso-β-scale vortex. 3) Next, the meso-β-scale vortex develops into a meso-α-scale vortex as the vortex and the trough begin to move southeastward from the lee of the KMC. 4) Finally, the surface trough deepens into a closed low and the meso-α-scale vortex becomes collocated with this deepening surface low to form a meso-α-scale cyclone over the southeastern East Sea.

Several sensitivity experiments are performed to isolate the effects of a topography, warmer sea surface, diurnal thermal forcing, and latent heat release. During stages 1 and 2, it is found that the KMC and low-level baroclinicity are responsible for generating the strong lee trough and vortex. During stage 3, the development of the meso-α-scale vortex is brought on by the tilting of horizontal vorticity and vertical stretching in a synoptic-scale cyclonic circulation. In the final stage, the condensational heating plays the key role for the development of the meso-α-scale cyclone under the influence of an upper-level synoptic-scale cold vortex. The presence of the warm sea surface is found to be a necessary condition for the development of a polar air convergence zone and the mesoscale cyclone. It is also found that the low-level baroclinicity is essential for the present case of mesoscale cyclogenesis.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Tae-Young Lee, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Korea.

Email: lty@atmos.yonsei.ac.kr

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