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Chris Thorncroft
and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

The extratropical transitions of Hurricanes Felix and Iris in 1995 are examined and compared. Both systems affected northwest Europe but only Iris developed significantly as an extratropical system. In both cases the hurricane interacts with a preexisting extratropical system over the western Atlantic. The remnants of the exhurricanes can be identified and tracked across the Atlantic as separate low-level potential vorticity (PV) anomalies. The nature of the baroclinic wave involved in the extratropical transition is described from a PV perspective and shown to differ significantly between the two cases.

The role of vertical shear in modifying the hurricane structure during the early phase of the transition is investigated. Iris moved into a region of strong shear. The high PV tower of Iris developed a marked downshear tilt. Felix moved into a vertically sheared environment also but the shear was weaker than for Iris and the PV tower of Felix did not tilt much.

Iris maintained its warm-core structure as it tracked across relatively warm water. It moved into the center of a large-scale baroclinic cyclone. The superposition of the two systems gave rise to strong low-level winds. The resulting strong surface latent heat fluxes helped to keep the boundary layer equivalent potential temperature (θe ) close to the saturated equivalent potential temperature of the underlying sea surface temperature. This high equivalent potential temperature air was redistributed in the vertical in association with deep convection, which helped maintain the warm core in a similar way to that in tropical cyclones.

Felix did not maintain its warm-core structure as it tracked across the Atlantic. This has been shown to be linked to its more poleward track across colder water. It is argued that negative surface fluxes of latent and sensible heat decrease the boundary layer θ e , resulting in low-cloud formation and a decoupling of the cyclone boundary layer from the the deep troposphere.

In order to forecast these events there is a need for skill in predicting both the nature of the large-scale baroclinic wave development and the structural evolution of the exhurricane remnants.

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Julian F. Quinting
and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

Many studies have highlighted the importance of recurving tropical cyclones (TCs) in triggering Rossby waves. This study investigates the impact of western North Pacific (WNP), south Indian Ocean, and North Atlantic recurving TCs on the amplitude and frequency of synoptic-scale Rossby wave packets (RWPs) over a 30-yr period. The results indicate a significant increase of RWP frequency downstream of WNP and south Indian Ocean TCs. A statistically significant RWP amplitude anomaly downstream of these TCs suggests that RWPs, which are associated with TCs, are stronger than those that generally occur in midlatitudes. North Atlantic TCs do not seem to be associated with a statistically significant increase in RWP frequency and amplitude downstream.

Processes that contribute to Rossby wave amplification are identified by creating composites for WNP TCs with and without downstream development. Potential vorticity, eddy kinetic energy, and quasigeostrophic forcing diagnostics highlight dynamical mechanisms that contribute to the synergistic interaction between the TC and the midlatitude flow. The existence of an upstream Rossby wave favors a downstream development. Diabatically enhanced upper-level divergent flow that can be attributed to the nonlinear interaction between the TC and the midlatitude flow impedes the eastward propagation of the upstream trough, amplifies the downstream ridge, and intensifies the jet. The amplified midlatitude flow provides upper-level forcing, which helps to maintain the predominantly diabatically driven divergent flow.

Forecast uncertainties that are related to these complex TC–midlatitude flow interactions may spread into downstream regions. A climatological analysis of ensemble reforecast data emphasizes the importance of TC–midlatitude flow interactions and Rossby wave amplification on downstream predictability.

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Patrick A. Harr
,
Doris Anwender
, and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

Measures of the variability among ensemble members from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction ensemble prediction system are examined with respect to forecasts of the extratropical transition (ET) of Typhoon Nabi over the western North Pacific during September 2005. In this study, variability among ensemble members is used as a proxy for predictability. The time–longitude distribution of standard deviations among 500-hPa height fields from the ensemble members is found to increase across the North Pacific following the completion of the extratropical transition. Furthermore, the increase in ensemble standard deviation is organized such that an increase is associated with the extratropical transition and another increase extends downstream from the ET event. The organization and amplitude of the standard deviations increase from 144 h until approximately 72–48 h prior to the completion of the extratropical transition, and then decrease as the forecast interval decreases.

An empirical orthogonal function analysis of potential temperature on the dynamic tropopause is applied to ensemble members to identify the spatial and temporal organization of centers of variability related to the extratropical transition. The principal components are then used in a fuzzy cluster analysis to examine the grouping of forecast sequences in the collection of ensemble members. The number of forecast groups decreases as the forecast interval to the completion of the ET decreases. However, there is a systematic progression of centers of variability downstream of the ET event. Once the variability associated with the ET begins to decrease, the variability downstream of the ET event also begins to decrease.

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Doris Anwender
,
Patrick A. Harr
, and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

The extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones often has a negative impact on the predictability of the atmospheric situation both around the ET event and farther downstream. The predictability of five ET cases of different intensities in the North Atlantic and the western North Pacific is investigated using the ECMWF ensemble prediction system. The variability in the ensemble members is regarded as a measure of the predictability. Plumes of forecast uncertainty spread downstream of each ET event. Initialization times closer to the ET events yield higher predictability of the downstream flow independent of forecast lead time.

Principal component analysis and fuzzy clustering is used to assess the variability in the ensemble members and to identify groupings of the members that contribute in a similar way to the variability patterns. Applying the method to the potential temperature on the dynamic tropopause reveals a characteristic variability pattern in all five cases that is closely related to the synoptic patterns of the ET events. Clusters that contribute in a similar manner to the variability patterns exhibit similar ET developments in the different cases. A probability can be assigned to a given group based on the number of members in the group. The number of clusters decreases with shorter forecast intervals and the difference between the clusters becomes less marked. This indicates an increase of predictability.

The usefulness of ensemble prediction is highlighted in the weak ET cases in that a low probability is assigned to the erroneous deterministic forecasts.

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Julia H. Keller
,
Sarah C. Jones
, and
Patrick A. Harr

Abstract

The extratropical transition (ET) of Hurricane Hanna (2008) and Typhoon Choi-Wan (2009) caused a variety of forecast scenarios in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Ensemble Prediction System (EPS). The dominant development scenarios are extracted for two ensemble forecasts initialized prior to the ET of those tropical storms, using an EOF and fuzzy clustering analysis. The role of the transitioning tropical cyclone and its impact on the midlatitude flow in the distinct forecast scenarios is examined by conducting an analysis of the eddy kinetic energy budget in the framework of downstream baroclinic development. This budget highlights sources and sinks of eddy kinetic energy emanating from the transitioning tropical cyclone or adjacent upstream midlatitude flow features. By comparing the budget for several forecast scenarios for the ET of each of the two tropical cyclones, the role of the transitioning storms on the development in downstream regions is investigated. Distinct features during the interaction between the tropical cyclone and the midlatitude flow turned out to be important. In the case of Hurricane Hanna, the duration of baroclinic conversion from eddy available potential into eddy kinetic energy was important for the amplification of the midlatitude wave pattern and the subsequent reintensification of Hanna as an extratropical cyclone. In the case of Typhoon Choi-Wan, the phasing between the storm and the midlatitude flow was one of the most critical factors for the future development.

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Lisa-Ann Quandt
,
Julia H. Keller
,
Olivia Martius
,
Joaquim G. Pinto
, and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

In summer 2010, the weather conditions in the Euro-Russian sector were affected by a long-lasting atmospheric block that led to a heat wave in Russia and floods in Pakistan. Following previous studies describing the block’s predictability, the present study aims to investigate uncertainties in the upper-level wave pattern and diabatic processes that were responsible for the block’s forecast variability during its onset, mature, and decay phases. With this aim, an ensemble sensitivity analysis (ESA) is performed for three medium-range THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble multimodel ensemble forecasts, one associated with each phase of the block’s life cycle. The ESA revealed that the block’s predictability was influenced by forecast uncertainties in the general wave pattern and in the vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT), used here as a proxy for diabatic processes. These uncertainties are associated with spatial shifts and intensity changes of synoptic waves and IVT during the whole life cycle of the block. During the onset phase, specific features include an Atlantic precursor block and the occurrence of several cyclones. During the mature stage, the blocking ridge itself was highly predictable, while forecast uncertainties in the wave pattern and in IVT primarily were associated with uncertainties in the block’s western flank. During the decay phase, the ESA signals were less intense, but the forecast variability significantly depended on the transformation of the block into a high-over-low pattern. It can be concluded that ESA is suitable to investigate the block’s forecast variability in multimodel ensembles.

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Observations of the Eyewall Structure of Typhoon Sinlaku (2008) during the Transformation Stage of Extratropical Transition

Annette M. Foerster
,
Michael M. Bell
,
Patrick A. Harr
, and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

A unique dataset observing the life cycle of Typhoon Sinlaku was collected during The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Pacific Asian Regional Campaign (T-PARC) in 2008. In this study observations of the transformation stage of the extratropical transition of Sinlaku are analyzed. Research flights with the Naval Research Laboratory P-3 and the U.S. Air Force WC-130 aircraft were conducted in the core region of Sinlaku. Data from the Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA), dropsondes, aircraft flight level, and satellite atmospheric motion vectors were analyzed with the recently developed Spline Analysis at Mesoscale Utilizing Radar and Aircraft Instrumentation (SAMURAI) software with a 1-km horizontal- and 0.5-km vertical-node spacing. The SAMURAI analysis shows marked asymmetries in the structure of the core region in the radar reflectivity and three-dimensional wind field. The highest radar reflectivities were found in the left of shear semicircle, and maximum ascent was found in the downshear left quadrant. Initial radar echos were found slightly upstream of the downshear direction and downdrafts were primarily located in the upshear semicircle, suggesting that individual cells in Sinlaku’s eyewall formed in the downshear region, matured as they traveled downstream, and decayed in the upshear region. The observed structure is consistent with previous studies of tropical cyclones in vertical wind shear, suggesting that the eyewall convection is primarily shaped by increased vertical wind shear during step 2 of the transformation stage, as was hypothesized by Klein et al. A transition from active convection upwind to stratiform precipitation downwind is similar to that found in the principal rainband of more intense tropical cyclones.

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Julian F. Quinting
,
Michael M. Bell
,
Patrick A. Harr
, and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

The structure and the environment of Typhoon Sinlaku (2008) were investigated during its life cycle in The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Pacific Asian Regional Campaign (T-PARC). On 20 September 2008, during the transformation stage of Sinlaku’s extratropical transition (ET), research aircraft equipped with dual-Doppler radar and dropsondes documented the structure of the convection surrounding Sinlaku and low-level frontogenetical processes. The observational data obtained were assimilated with the recently developed Spline Analysis at Mesoscale Utilizing Radar and Aircraft Instrumentation (SAMURAI) software tool. The resulting analysis provides detailed insight into the ET system and allows specific features of the system to be identified, including deep convection, a stratiform precipitation region, warm- and cold-frontal structures, and a dry intrusion. The analysis offers valuable information about the interaction of the features identified within the transitioning tropical cyclone. The existence of dry midlatitude air above warm-moist tropical air led to strong potential instability. Quasigeostrophic diagnostics suggest that forced ascent during warm frontogenesis triggered the deep convective development in this potentially unstable environment. The deep convection itself produced a positive potential vorticity anomaly at midlevels that modified the environmental flow. A comparison of the operational ECMWF analysis and the observation-based SAMURAI analysis exhibits important differences. In particular, the ECMWF analysis does not capture the deep convection adequately. The nonexistence of the deep convection has considerable implications on the potential vorticity structure of the remnants of the typhoon at midlevels. An inaccurate representation of the thermodynamic structure of the dry intrusion has considerable implications on the frontogenesis and the quasigeostrophic forcing.

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Hilke S. Lentink
,
Christian M. Grams
,
Michael Riemer
, and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

Extratropical transition (ET) can cause high-impact weather in midlatitude regions and therefore constitutes an ongoing threat at the end of a tropical cyclone’s (TC) life cycle. Most of the ET events occur over the ocean, but some TCs recurve and undergo ET along coastal regions; however, the latter category is less investigated. Typhoon Sinlaku (2008), for example, underwent ET along the southern coast of Japan. It was one of the typhoons that occurred during the T-PARC field campaign, providing unprecedented high-resolution observational data. Sinlaku is therefore an excellent case to investigate the impact of a coastal region, and in particular orography, on the evolution of ET. Here, observations from T-PARC are employed to verify high-resolution simulations of Sinlaku. In addition, a sensitivity simulation is performed with the orography of Japan removed. The presence of orography causes blocking of low-level, cool midlatitude air north of Japan. Without this inflow of cool air, ET is delayed. Only once Sinlaku moves away from the orographic barrier does the cool, dry environmental air penetrate equatorward, and ET continues. On a local scale, evaporatively cooled air from below Sinlaku’s asymmetric precipitation field could be advected toward the cyclone center when orography was favorable for it. Changes in the vortex structure, as known from mature TCs interacting with orography, were only minor due to the high translation speed during ET. This study corroborates that orography can impact ET by modulating both the synoptic-scale environmental conditions and the mesoscale cyclone structure during ET.

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