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Sting Jets in Simulations of a Real Cyclone by Two Mesoscale Models

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
  • 2 Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • 3 Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The existence of sting jets as a potential source of damaging surface winds during the passage of extratropical cyclones has recently been recognized. However, there are still very few published studies on the subject. Furthermore, although it is known that other models are capable of reproducing sting jets, in the published literature only one numerical model [the Met Office Unified Model (MetUM)] has been used to numerically analyze these phenomena. This article aims to improve our understanding of the processes that contribute to the development of sting jets and show that model differences affect the evolution of modeled sting jets. A sting jet event during the passage of a cyclone over the United Kingdom on 26 February 2002 has been simulated using two mesoscale models, namely the MetUM and the Consortium for Small Scale Modeling (COSMO) model, to compare their performance. Given the known critical importance of vertical resolution in the simulation of sting jets, the vertical resolution of both models has been enhanced with respect to their operational versions. Both simulations have been verified against surface measurements of maximum gusts, satellite imagery, and Met Office operational synoptic analyses, as well as operational analyses from the ECMWF. It is shown that both models are capable of reproducing sting jets with similar, though not identical, features. Through the comparison of the results from these two models, the relevance of physical mechanisms, such as evaporative cooling and the release of conditional symmetric instability, in the generation and evolution of sting jets is also discussed.

* Current affiliation: Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), Vienna, Austria

Corresponding author address: Oscar Martínez-Alvarado, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Earley Gate, P.O. Box 243, Reading RG6 6BB, United Kingdom. Email: o.martinezalvarado@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

The existence of sting jets as a potential source of damaging surface winds during the passage of extratropical cyclones has recently been recognized. However, there are still very few published studies on the subject. Furthermore, although it is known that other models are capable of reproducing sting jets, in the published literature only one numerical model [the Met Office Unified Model (MetUM)] has been used to numerically analyze these phenomena. This article aims to improve our understanding of the processes that contribute to the development of sting jets and show that model differences affect the evolution of modeled sting jets. A sting jet event during the passage of a cyclone over the United Kingdom on 26 February 2002 has been simulated using two mesoscale models, namely the MetUM and the Consortium for Small Scale Modeling (COSMO) model, to compare their performance. Given the known critical importance of vertical resolution in the simulation of sting jets, the vertical resolution of both models has been enhanced with respect to their operational versions. Both simulations have been verified against surface measurements of maximum gusts, satellite imagery, and Met Office operational synoptic analyses, as well as operational analyses from the ECMWF. It is shown that both models are capable of reproducing sting jets with similar, though not identical, features. Through the comparison of the results from these two models, the relevance of physical mechanisms, such as evaporative cooling and the release of conditional symmetric instability, in the generation and evolution of sting jets is also discussed.

* Current affiliation: Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), Vienna, Austria

Corresponding author address: Oscar Martínez-Alvarado, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Earley Gate, P.O. Box 243, Reading RG6 6BB, United Kingdom. Email: o.martinezalvarado@reading.ac.uk

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