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Anna Agustí-Panareda


Tropical Cyclone Gert (1999) experienced an extratropical transition while it merged with an extratropical cyclone upstream. The upstream extratropical cyclone had started to intensify before it merged with the transitioning tropical cyclone, and it continued intensifying afterward (12 hPa in 12 h, according to the Met Office analysis). The question addressed in this paper is the following: what was the impact of the transitioning tropical cyclone on this intensification of the upstream extratropical cyclone? Until now, in the literature, tropical cyclones that experience extratropical transition have been found to have either no impact or a positive impact on the development of extratropical cyclogenesis events. The positive impact involves either a triggering of the development of the extratropical cyclone or simply a contribution to its deepening. However, the case studied here proves to have a negative impact on the developing extratropical cyclone upstream by diminishing its intensification. Forecasts are performed with and without the tropical cyclone in the initial conditions. They show that when Gert is not present in the initial conditions, the peak intensity of the cyclone upstream occurs 9 h earlier and it is 10 hPa deeper than when Gert is present. Thus, Gert acts to weaken the development by contributing to the filling of the extratropical surface low upstream. Quasigeostropic (QG) diagnostics show that the negative impact on the extratropical development is linked to the fact that the transitioning tropical cyclone interacts with a warm front inducing a negative QG vertical velocity over the developing extratropical low upstream. This interpretation is consistent with other contrasting cases in which the transitioning tropical cyclone interacts with a cold front and induces a positive QG vertical velocity over the developing low upstream, thus enhancing its development. The results are also in agreement with idealized experiments in the literature that are aimed at studying the predictability of extratropical storms. These idealized experiments yielded similar results using synoptic-scale and mesoscale vortices as perturbations on warm and cold fronts.

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Anna Agustí-Panareda, Suzanne L. Gray, George C. Craig, and Chris Thorncroft


The transition that a tropical cyclone experiences as it moves into the extratropical environment (known as extratropical transition) can result in the decay or intensification of a baroclinic cyclone. The extratropical transition (ET) of Tropical Cyclone Lili (1996) in the North Atlantic resulted in a moderate extratropical development of a baroclinic cyclone. The impact of Lili in the extratropical development that occurred during its ET is investigated. Numerical experiments are performed using potential vorticity inversion and the Met Office Unified Model to forecast the extratropical development with and without the tropical cyclone in the initial conditions. In contrast with other case studies in the literature, Lili is shown to play a crucial role during its ET in the development of a baroclinic cyclone that occurred in the same region. A hypothesis of the possible scenarios of ET is presented that links the case-to-case variability of ET case studies in the literature with a classification of the life cycles of baroclinic cyclones.

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