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Classification and Composite Diagnosis of Extratropical Cyclogenesis Events in the Southwest Pacific

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  • 1 National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Ltd., Wellington, New Zealand
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Abstract

Characteristic patterns of cyclogenesis in the southwest Pacific region are identified from a sample of 40 developing cyclones during 1990–94. Cases were chosen objectively to ensure a realistic sampling of typical rather than “ideal” events. A subjective classification based on synoptic-scale upper-tropospheric flow signatures prior to cyclone intensification suggested four classes into which all but three cases fell. Three categories, each containing about a quarter of the population, involved direct coupling with the upper jet. They represent cyclone formation beneath (i) the poleward exit region of a 300-hPa jet upstream from a diffluent trough (class U), (ii) the confluent equatorward entrance region of the upper wind maximum (E), and (iii) the upper jet exit region where the jet is downstream from the upper trough (class D). These are analogous to previously identified categories for the western North Atlantic region. A fourth class involved cyclones forming beneath a preexisting intense upper-level trough (class T) located poleward of the upper-level jet.

Class U cyclones, forming within diffluent airflow, exhibited strong cold fronts, weak warm fronts, and a meridional configuration while class E cyclones forming in confluent flow attained a more zonally elongated structure marked by stronger warm fronts and weak cold fronts. Class U cyclones featured frontal evolution similar to the Norwegian cyclone model while class E and D cyclones exhibited characteristics of the Shapiro–Keyser model. These results provide further observational support for the emerging paradigm of contrasting frontal and cyclone structure resulting from confluent versus diffluent large-scale flow.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Mark R. Sinclair, Dept. of Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 3200 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, AZ 86301-3720.

Email: sinclam@pr.erau.edu

Abstract

Characteristic patterns of cyclogenesis in the southwest Pacific region are identified from a sample of 40 developing cyclones during 1990–94. Cases were chosen objectively to ensure a realistic sampling of typical rather than “ideal” events. A subjective classification based on synoptic-scale upper-tropospheric flow signatures prior to cyclone intensification suggested four classes into which all but three cases fell. Three categories, each containing about a quarter of the population, involved direct coupling with the upper jet. They represent cyclone formation beneath (i) the poleward exit region of a 300-hPa jet upstream from a diffluent trough (class U), (ii) the confluent equatorward entrance region of the upper wind maximum (E), and (iii) the upper jet exit region where the jet is downstream from the upper trough (class D). These are analogous to previously identified categories for the western North Atlantic region. A fourth class involved cyclones forming beneath a preexisting intense upper-level trough (class T) located poleward of the upper-level jet.

Class U cyclones, forming within diffluent airflow, exhibited strong cold fronts, weak warm fronts, and a meridional configuration while class E cyclones forming in confluent flow attained a more zonally elongated structure marked by stronger warm fronts and weak cold fronts. Class U cyclones featured frontal evolution similar to the Norwegian cyclone model while class E and D cyclones exhibited characteristics of the Shapiro–Keyser model. These results provide further observational support for the emerging paradigm of contrasting frontal and cyclone structure resulting from confluent versus diffluent large-scale flow.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Mark R. Sinclair, Dept. of Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 3200 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, AZ 86301-3720.

Email: sinclam@pr.erau.edu

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