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Kyle S. Griffin
and
Lance F. Bosart

Abstract

Documentation of southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) tropical cyclones (TCs) and extratropical transition (ET) events is sparse in the refereed literature. The authors present a climatology of SWIO TC and ET events for 1989–2013. The SWIO averages ~9 tropical cyclones (TCs) per year in this modern era. Of these TCs, ~44% undergo extratropical transition (ET), or ~four per year. A case study of TC Edisoana (1990), the most rapidly intensifying SWIO post-ET TC between 1989 and 2013, shows that extratropical interactions began when an approaching trough embedded in the subtropical jet stream (STJ) induced ET on 7 March. As Edisoana underwent ET, a subtropical ridge downstream amplified in response to poleward-directed positive potential vorticity (PV) advection associated with diabatically (convectively) driven upper-level outflow from TC Edisoana. This amplifying lower-latitude ridge phased with a lower-amplitude higher-latitude ridge embedded in the polar front jet (PFJ), resulting in the merger of the two jets. This ridge phasing and jet merger, combined with the approach of an upstream trough embedded in the PFJ, resulted in a decrease in the half-wavelength between the approaching trough and the downstream phased ridges and provided extratropical cyclone Edisoana with a prime environment for rapid reintensification (RI). Poleward-directed positive PV advection into the phased ridge strengthened the upper-level jet downstream of Edisoana, which provided the primary baroclinic forcing throughout the RI phase. A backward trajectory analysis suggests that strong diabatic heating enhanced favorable synoptic-scale forcing for ascent from the upstream and downstream jet streaks and played a crucial role in the deepening of Edisoana through the ET and RI periods.

Full access
Julia H. Keller
,
Christian M. Grams
,
Michael Riemer
,
Heather M. Archambault
,
Lance Bosart
,
James D. Doyle
,
Jenni L. Evans
,
Thomas J. Galarneau Jr.
,
Kyle Griffin
,
Patrick A. Harr
,
Naoko Kitabatake
,
Ron McTaggart-Cowan
,
Florian Pantillon
,
Julian F. Quinting
,
Carolyn A. Reynolds
,
Elizabeth A. Ritchie
,
Ryan D. Torn
, and
Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

The extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones often has an important impact on the nature and predictability of the midlatitude flow. This review synthesizes the current understanding of the dynamical and physical processes that govern this impact and highlights the relationship of downstream development during ET to high-impact weather, with a focus on downstream regions. It updates a previous review from 2003 and identifies new and emerging challenges and future research needs. First, the mechanisms through which the transitioning cyclone impacts the midlatitude flow in its immediate vicinity are discussed. This “direct impact” manifests in the formation of a jet streak and the amplification of a ridge directly downstream of the cyclone. This initial flow modification triggers or amplifies a midlatitude Rossby wave packet, which disperses the impact of ET into downstream regions (downstream impact) and may contribute to the formation of high-impact weather. Details are provided concerning the impact of ET on forecast uncertainty in downstream regions and on the impact of observations on forecast skill. The sources and characteristics of the following key features and processes that may determine the manifestation of the impact of ET on the midlatitude flow are discussed: the upper-tropospheric divergent outflow, mainly associated with latent heat release in the troposphere below, and the phasing between the transitioning cyclone and the midlatitude wave pattern. Improving the representation of diabatic processes during ET in models and a climatological assessment of the ET’s impact on downstream high-impact weather are examples for future research directions.

Open access
Clark Evans
,
Kimberly M. Wood
,
Sim D. Aberson
,
Heather M. Archambault
,
Shawn M. Milrad
,
Lance F. Bosart
,
Kristen L. Corbosiero
,
Christopher A. Davis
,
João R. Dias Pinto
,
James Doyle
,
Chris Fogarty
,
Thomas J. Galarneau Jr.
,
Christian M. Grams
,
Kyle S. Griffin
,
John Gyakum
,
Robert E. Hart
,
Naoko Kitabatake
,
Hilke S. Lentink
,
Ron McTaggart-Cowan
,
William Perrie
,
Julian F. D. Quinting
,
Carolyn A. Reynolds
,
Michael Riemer
,
Elizabeth A. Ritchie
,
Yujuan Sun
, and
Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

Extratropical transition (ET) is the process by which a tropical cyclone, upon encountering a baroclinic environment and reduced sea surface temperature at higher latitudes, transforms into an extratropical cyclone. This process is influenced by, and influences, phenomena from the tropics to the midlatitudes and from the meso- to the planetary scales to extents that vary between individual events. Motivated in part by recent high-impact and/or extensively observed events such as North Atlantic Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and western North Pacific Typhoon Sinlaku in 2008, this review details advances in understanding and predicting ET since the publication of an earlier review in 2003. Methods for diagnosing ET in reanalysis, observational, and model-forecast datasets are discussed. New climatologies for the eastern North Pacific and southwest Indian Oceans are presented alongside updates to western North Pacific and North Atlantic Ocean climatologies. Advances in understanding and, in some cases, modeling the direct impacts of ET-related wind, waves, and precipitation are noted. Improved understanding of structural evolution throughout the transformation stage of ET fostered in large part by novel aircraft observations collected in several recent ET events is highlighted. Predictive skill for operational and numerical model ET-related forecasts is discussed along with environmental factors influencing posttransition cyclone structure and evolution. Operational ET forecast and analysis practices and challenges are detailed. In particular, some challenges of effective hazard communication for the evolving threats posed by a tropical cyclone during and after transition are introduced. This review concludes with recommendations for future work to further improve understanding, forecasts, and hazard communication.

Open access