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Julian F. Quinting
and
Christian M. Grams

Abstract

The physical and dynamical processes associated with warm conveyor belts (WCBs) importantly affect midlatitude dynamics and are sources of forecast uncertainty. Moreover, WCBs modulate the large-scale extratropical circulation and can communicate and amplify forecast errors. Therefore, it is desirable to assess the representation of WCBs in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in particular on the medium to subseasonal forecast range. Most often, WCBs are identified as coherent bundles of Lagrangian trajectories that ascend in a time interval of 2 days from the lower to the upper troposphere. Although this Lagrangian approach has advanced the understanding of the involved processes significantly, the calculation of trajectories is computationally expensive and requires NWP data at a high spatial [ O ( ~ 1 ) ], vertical [ O ( ~ 10 hPa ) ], and temporal resolution [ O ( ~ 3 6 h ) ]. In this study, we present a statistical framework that derives footprints of WCBs from coarser NWP data that are routinely available. To this end, gridpoint-specific multivariate logistic regression models are developed for the Northern Hemisphere using meteorological parameters from ERA-Interim data as predictors and binary footprints of WCB inflow, ascent, and outflow based on a Lagrangian dataset as predictands. Stepwise forward selection identifies the most important predictors for these three WCB stages. The logistic models are reliable in replicating the climatological frequency of WCBs as well as the footprints of WCBs at instantaneous time steps. The novel framework is a first step toward a systematic evaluation of WCB representation in large datasets such as subseasonal ensemble reforecasts or climate projections.

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Julian F. Quinting
and
Michael J. Reeder

Abstract

Although heat waves account for more premature deaths in the Australian region than any other natural disaster, an understanding of their dynamics is still incomplete. The present study identifies the dynamical mechanisms responsible for heat waves in southeastern Australia using 10-day backward trajectories computed from the ERA-Interim reanalyses. Prior to the formation of a heat wave, trajectories located over the south Indian Ocean and over Australia in the lower and midtroposphere ascend diabatically ahead of an upper-level trough and over a baroclinic zone to the south of the continent. These trajectories account for 44% of all trajectories forming the anticyclonic upper-level potential vorticity anomalies that characterize heat waves in the region. At the same time, trajectories located over the south Indian Ocean in the lower part of the troposphere descend and aggregate over the Tasman Sea. This descent is accompanied by a strong adiabatic warming. A key finding is that the temperatures are raised further through diabatic heating in the boundary layer over eastern Australia but not over the inner Australian continent. From eastern Australia, the air parcels are advected southward as they become incorporated into the near-surface anticyclone that defines the heat wave. In contrast to past studies, the importance of cloud-diabatic processes in the evolution of the midlatitude large-scale flow and the role of adiabatic compression in elevating the near-surface temperatures is emphasized. Likewise, the role of the local surface sensible heat fluxes is deemphasized.

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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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Jan Wandel
,
Julian F. Quinting
, and
Christian M. Grams

Abstract

Warm conveyor belts (WCBs) associated with extratropical cyclones transport air from the lower troposphere into the tropopause region and contribute to upper-level ridge building and the formation of blocking anticyclones. Recent studies indicate that this constitutes an important source and magnifier of forecast uncertainty and errors in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. However, a systematic evaluation of the representation of WCBs in NWP models has yet to be determined. Here, we employ the logistic regression models developed in Part I to identify the inflow, ascent, and outflow stages of WCBs in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) subseasonal reforecasts for Northern Hemisphere winter in the period January 1997 to December 2017. We verify the representation of these WCB stages in terms of systematic occurrence frequency biases, forecast reliability, and forecast skill. Systematic WCB frequency biases emerge already at early lead times of around 3 days with an underestimation for the WCB outflow over the North Atlantic and eastern North Pacific of around 40% relative to climatology. Biases in the predictor variables of the logistic regression models can partially explain these biases in WCB inflow, ascent, or outflow. Despite an overconfidence in predicting high WCB probabilities, skillful WCB forecasts are on average possible up to a lead time of 8–10 days with more skill over the North Pacific compared to the North Atlantic region. Our results corroborate that the current limited forecast skill for the large-scale extratropical circulation on subseasonal time scales beyond 10 days might be tied to the representation of WCBs and associated upscale error growth.

Open access
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.

Full access
Andrea Schneidereit
,
Dieter H. W. Peters
,
Christian M. Grams
,
Julian F. Quinting
,
Julia H. Keller
,
Gabriel Wolf
,
Franziska Teubler
,
Michael Riemer
, and
Olivia Martius

Abstract

Tropospheric forcing of planetary wavenumber 2 is examined in the prephase of the major stratospheric sudden warming event in January 2009 (MSSW 2009). Because of a huge increase in Eliassen–Palm fluxes induced mainly by wavenumber 2, easterly angular momentum is transported into the Arctic stratosphere, deposited, and then decelerates the polar night jet. In agreement with earlier studies, the results reveal that the strongest eddy heat fluxes, associated with wavenumber 2, occur at 100 hPa during the prephase of MSSW 2009 in ERA-Interim. In addition, moderate conditions of the cold phase of ENSO (La Niña) contribute to the eddy heat flux anomaly. It is shown that enhanced tropospheric wave forcing over Alaska and Scandinavia is caused by tropical processes in two ways. First, in a climatological sense, La Niña contributes to an enhanced anticyclonic flow over both regions. Second, the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) has an indirect influence on the Alaskan ridge by enhancing eddy activity over the North Pacific. This is manifested in an increase in cyclone frequency and associated warm conveyor belt outflow, which contribute to the maintenance and amplification of the Alaskan anticyclone. The Scandinavian ridge is maintained by wave trains emanating from the Alaskan ridge propagating eastward, including an enhanced transport of eddy kinetic energy. The MSSW 2009 is an extraordinary case of how a beneficial phasing of La Niña and MJO conditions together with multiscale interactions enhances tropospheric forcing for wavenumber 2–induced zonal mean eddy heat flux in the lower stratosphere.

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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