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Christian M. Grams and Heather M. Archambault

Abstract

Recurving tropical cyclones (TCs) undergoing extratropical transition (ET) may substantially modify the large-scale midlatitude flow pattern. This study highlights the role of diabatic outflow in midlatitude flow amplification within the context of a review of the physical and dynamical processes involved in ET. Composite fields of 12 western North Pacific ET cases are used as initial and boundary conditions for high-resolution numerical simulations of the North Pacific–North American sector with and without the TC present. It is demonstrated that a three-stage sequence of diabatic outflow associated with different weather systems is involved in triggering a highly amplified midlatitude flow pattern: 1) preconditioning by a predecessor rain event (PRE), 2) TC–extratropical flow interaction, and 3) downstream flow amplification by a downstream warm conveyor belt (WCB). An ensemble of perturbed simulations demonstrates the robustness of these stages. Beyond earlier studies investigating PREs, recurving TCs, and WCBs individually, here the fact that each impacts the midlatitude flow through a similar sequence of processes surrounding ET is highlighted. Latent heat release in rapidly ascending air leads to a net transport of low-PV air into the upper troposphere. Negative PV advection by the diabatically driven outflow initiates ridge building, accelerates and anchors a midlatitude jet streak, and overall amplifies the upper-level Rossby wave pattern. However, the three weather systems markedly differ in terms of the character of diabatic heating and associated outflow height, with the TC outflow reaching highest and the downstream WCB outflow producing the strongest negative PV anomaly.

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Heather M. Archambault, Daniel Keyser, and Lance F. Bosart

Abstract

This observational study investigates statistical and synoptic–dynamic relationships between regime transitions, defined as a North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) or Pacific–North American pattern (PNA) index change from at least a 1 standard deviation anomaly to at least a 1 standard deviation anomaly of opposite sign within 7 days, and cool-season (November–April) northeastern U.S. (NE) precipitation. A statistical analysis is performed of daily cool-season NE precipitation during all NAO and PNA transitions for 1948–2003, and a composite analysis and case study of a major cool-season NE precipitation event occurring during a positive-to-negative NAO transition are conducted. Datasets used are the 0.25° NCEP Unified Precipitation Dataset, the 2.5° NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, and the 1.125° 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40).

Results of the statistical analysis suggest that cool-season NE precipitation tends to be enhanced during positive-to-negative NAO and negative-to-positive PNA transitions, and suppressed during negative-to-positive NAO and positive-to-negative PNA transitions. Of the four types of regime transitions, only the positive-to-negative NAO transition is associated with substantially more frequent major cool-season NE precipitation events compared to climatology. Results of the composite analysis and case study indicate that a surface cyclone and cyclonic wave breaking associated with the major NE precipitation event can help produce a high-latitude blocking pattern over the North Atlantic characteristic of a negative NAO pattern via thermal advection, potential vorticity transport, and diabatic processes.

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Heather M. Archambault, Daniel Keyser, Lance F. Bosart, Christopher A. Davis, and Jason M. Cordeira

Abstract

This study investigates the composite extratropical flow response to recurving western North Pacific tropical cyclones (WNP TCs), and the dependence of this response on the strength of the TC–extratropical flow interaction as defined by the negative potential vorticity advection (PV) by the irrotational wind associated with the TC. The 2.5° NCEP–NCAR reanalysis is used to construct composite analyses of all 1979–2009 recurving WNP TCs and of subsets that undergo strong and weak TC–extratropical flow interactions.

Findings indicate that recurving WNP TCs are associated with the amplification of a preexisting Rossby wave train (RWT) that disperses downstream and modifies the large-scale flow pattern over North America. This RWT affects approximately 240° of longitude and persists for approximately 10 days. Recurving TCs associated with strong TC–extratropical flow interactions are associated with a stronger extratropical flow response than those associated with weak TC–extratropical flow interactions. Compared with weak interactions, strong interactions feature a more distinct upstream trough, stronger and broader divergent outflow associated with stronger midlevel frontogenesis and forcing for ascent over and northeast of the TC, and stronger upper-level PV frontogenesis that promotes more pronounced jet streak intensification. During strong interactions, divergent outflow helps anchor and amplify a downstream ridge, thereby amplifying a preexisting RWT from Asia that disperses downstream to North America. In contrast, during weak interactions, divergent outflow weakly amplifies a downstream ridge, such that a RWT briefly amplifies in situ before dissipating over the western-central North Pacific.

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Heather M. Archambault, Lance F. Bosart, Daniel Keyser, and Jason M. Cordeira

Abstract

Although prior studies have established that the extratropical flow pattern often amplifies downstream of recurving tropical cyclones (TCs), the extratropical flow response to recurving TCs has not to the authors' knowledge been systematically examined from a climatological perspective. In this study, a climatology of the extratropical flow response to recurving western North Pacific TCs is constructed from 292 cases of TC recurvature during 1979–2009. The extratropical flow response to TC recurvature is evaluated based on a time-lagged composite time series of an index of the North Pacific meridional flow surrounding TC recurvature. Similar time series are constructed for recurving TCs stratified by characteristics of the large-scale flow pattern, the TC, and the phasing between the TC and the extratropical flow to assess factors influencing the extratropical flow response to TC recurvature. Results reveal that following TC recurvature, significantly amplified flow develops over the North Pacific and persists for ~4 days. The tendency for significantly amplified North Pacific flow to develop following TC recurvature is sensitive to the strength of the TC–extratropical flow interaction (the phasing between the TC and the extratropical flow), which is based on the negative potential vorticity advection by the divergent outflow of the TC. In contrast, the tendency for significantly amplified North Pacific flow to develop following TC recurvature is relatively insensitive to the intensity or size of the recurving TC, or whether it subsequently reintensifies after becoming extratropical.

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Lance F. Bosart, Benjamin J. Moore, Jason M. Cordeira, and Heather M. Archambault

Abstract

This study uses observations and model reanalyses to examine the multiscale processes associated with four high-impact extreme weather events (EWEs) over North America during late October 2007. The EWEs consisted of wind-driven wildfires in California, prolonged anomalous cold conditions in Mexico linked to two cold surges, heavy rainfall in the eastern United States, and severe flood-producing heavy rainfall in southern Mexico. The EWEs involved a pronounced large-scale flow reconfiguration across the North Pacific and North America in conjunction with the formation of a high-amplitude Rossby wave train. The flow reconfiguration involved perturbations to the North Pacific jet stream linked to polar, midlatitude, and tropical disturbances, including three tropopause-level polar disturbances originating over northeastern Asia, transient extratropical cyclones, a diabatic Rossby vortex, and western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Kajiki. Eulerian and Lagrangian diagnostics indicate that ridge amplification within the wave train was enhanced in connection with latent heat release along warm conveyor belts rooted in the tropics and subtropics over the North Pacific. Two anticyclonic Rossby wave breaking events over North America established synoptic-scale conditions that supported the EWEs. The results highlight how the large- and synoptic-scale flow can evolve to facilitate multiple geographically separated but dynamically linked EWEs. Based on the results, it is posited that during autumn the North Pacific jet stream may be particularly conducive to large-scale flow amplification, possibly resulting in EWEs, in response to perturbations associated with tropical, midlatitude, and polar disturbances.

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Jacopo Riboldi, Christian M. Grams, Michael Riemer, and Heather M. Archambault

Abstract

The extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones (TCs) can significantly influence the evolution of the midlatitude flow. However, the interaction between recurving TCs and upstream upper-level troughs features a large and partly unexplained case-to-case variability. In this study, a synoptic, feature-based climatology of TC–trough interactions is constructed to discriminate recurving TCs that interact with decelerating and accelerating troughs. Upper-level troughs reducing their eastward propagation speed during the interaction with recurving TCs exhibit phase locking with lower-level temperature anomalies and are linked to pronounced downstream Rossby wave amplification. Conversely, accelerating troughs do not exhibit phase locking and are associated with a nonsignificant downstream impact. Irrotational outflow near the tropopause associated with latent heat release in regions of heavy precipitation near the transitioning storm can promote phase locking (via enhancement of trough deceleration) and further enhance the downstream impact (via advection of air with low potential vorticity in the direction of the waveguide). These different impacts affect the probability of atmospheric blocking at the end of the Pacific storm track, which is generally higher if a TC–trough interaction occurs in the western North Pacific. Blocking in the eastern North Pacific is up to 3 times more likely than climatology if an interaction between a TC and a decelerating trough occurs upstream, whereas no statistical deviation with respect to climatology is observed for accelerating troughs. The outlined results support the hypothesis that differences in phase locking can explain the observed variability in the downstream impact of ET.

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Lance F. Bosart, Jason M. Cordeira, Thomas J. Galarneau Jr., Benjamin J. Moore, and Heather M. Archambault

Abstract

An analysis of three predecessor rain events (PREs) that occurred ahead of North Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) Ike and east Pacific TC Lowell during 10–15 September 2008 is presented. The three PREs produced all-time daily record rainfall at many locations, including Lubbock, Texas (189.5 mm); Wichita, Kansas (262 mm); and Chicago–O’Hare, Illinois (169 mm), on 11–13 September, respectively.

PRE 1 organized over Texas on 10 September with moisture from a stalled frontal boundary and the Bay of Campeche, and matured with moisture from TC Lowell. PRE 2 organized over the Texas Panhandle on 11 September with moisture from the Bay of Campeche, and developed and matured over Kansas and Missouri with moisture from TC Lowell. PRE 3 developed over Texas on 11 September, merged with and absorbed PRE 2 over Kansas and Missouri, and matured as it ingested moisture from TC Ike. All three PREs matured in the equatorward entrance region of an intensifying subtropical jet stream (STJ).

Heavy rainfall with the three PREs occurred along a plume of moist air characterized by high precipitable water values that extended poleward over the central United States near the juxtaposition of the nose of a low-level jet, a region of lower-tropospheric forcing for ascent along a surface baroclinic zone, and the STJ equatorward entrance region. The cumulative upscale effect of persistent deep convection from the three PREs enhanced and “locked in” a favorable upper-tropospheric flow pattern conducive to ridge development over the Ohio Valley and STJ intensification over the central U.S. and Great Lakes region.

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Heather M. Archambault, Lance F. Bosart, Daniel Keyser, and Anantha R. Aiyyer

Abstract

The influence of large-scale flow regimes on cool-season (November–April) northeastern U.S. (Northeast) precipitation is investigated for the period 1948–2003 from statistical and synoptic perspectives. These perspectives are addressed through (i) a statistical analysis of cool-season Northeast precipitation associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Pacific–North American (PNA) regimes (one standard deviation or greater NAO or PNA daily index anomalies persisting several days), and (ii) a composite analysis of the synoptic signatures of major (two standard deviation) 24-h cool-season Northeast precipitation events occurring during NAO and PNA regimes. The statistical analysis reveals that negative PNA regimes are associated with above-average cool-season Northeast precipitation and an above-average frequency of light and moderate precipitation events, whereas the opposite associations are true for positive PNA regimes. In comparison with PNA regimes, NAO regimes are found to have relatively little influence on the amount and frequency of cool-season Northeast precipitation. The composite analysis indicates that a surface cyclone flanked by an upstream trough over the Ohio Valley and downstream ridge over eastern Canada and upper- and lower-level jets in the vicinity of the Northeast are characteristic signatures of major cool-season Northeast precipitation events occurring during NAO and PNA regimes. Negative NAO and positive PNA precipitation events, however, are associated with a more amplified trough–ridge pattern and greater implied Atlantic moisture transport by a low-level jet into the Northeast than positive NAO and negative PNA precipitation events. Furthermore, a signature of lateral upper-level jet coupling is noted only during positive and negative PNA precipitation events.

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Nicholas D. Metz, Heather M. Archambault, Alan F. Srock, Thomas J. Galarneau Jr., and Lance F. Bosart

Abstract

In the Southern Hemisphere, a relatively well-known preferential pathway along which cold air surges equatorward is situated to the east of the Andes Mountains. In this study, a second preferred pathway is identified to the east of the African Highlands, with additional minor pathways identified east of the Brazilian Highlands and Madagascar. The primary objective of this study is to compare climatological and synoptic characteristics of extreme cold events (ECEs) along the Andes and African Highlands pathways. ECEs are defined as the top 1% coldest 925-hPa temperatures within the Andes and the African Highlands pathways using the 1977–2001 subset of the 2.5° × 2.5° 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40). ECEs within the Andes and African Highlands pathways are associated with dynamically forced anticyclogenesis and have low-level characteristics that vary substantially. Along the Andes pathway, ECEs feature 925-hPa temperatures as much as 17°C below normal, with 925-hPa southerly winds ranging from 0 to 10 m s−1 and 925–700-hPa lapse rates as low as −3°C km−1. In contrast, ECEs along the African Highlands pathway feature 925-hPa temperatures up to 10°C below normal, with 925-hPa southerly winds ranging from 5 to 15 m s−1, and 925–700-hPa lapse rates generally between 2° and 5°C km−1. Composite analyses reveal that despite stronger southerly winds, ECEs along the African Highlands pathway are typically not as cold or stable as those along the Andes pathway because cold air from Antarctica must traverse a longer distance over water to reach Africa.

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Clark Evans, Heather M. Archambault, Jason M. Cordeira, Cody Fritz, Thomas J. Galarneau Jr., Saska Gjorgjievska, Kyle S. Griffin, Alexandria Johnson, William A. Komaromi, Sarah Monette, Paytsar Muradyan, Brian Murphy, Michael Riemer, John Sears, Daniel Stern, Brian Tang, and Segayle Thompson

The Pre-Depression Investigation of Cloud-systems in the Tropics (PREDICT) field experiment successfully gathered data from four developing and four decaying/nondeveloping tropical disturbances over the tropical North Atlantic basin between 15 August and 30 September 2010. The invaluable roles played by early career scientists (ECSs) throughout the campaign helped make possible the successful execution of the field program's mission to investigate tropical cyclone formation. ECSs provided critical meteorological information— often obtained from novel ECS-created products—during daily weather briefings that were used by the principal investigators in making mission planning decisions. Once a Gulfstream V (G-V) flight mission was underway, ECSs provided nowcasting support, relaying information that helped the mission scientists to steer clear of potential areas of turbulence aloft. Data from these missions, including dropsonde and GPS water vapor profiler data, were continually obtained, processed, and quality-controlled by ECSs. The dropsonde data provided National Hurricane Center forecasters and PREDICT mission scientists with real-time information regarding the characteristics of tropical disturbances. These data and others will serve as the basis for multiple ECS-led research topics over the years to come and are expected to provide new insights into the tropical cyclone formation process. PREDICT also provided invaluable educational and professional development experiences for ECSs, including the opportunity to critically evaluate observational evidence for tropical cyclone development theories and networking opportunities with their peers and established scientists in the field.

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