Climatology and dynamics of the link between dry intrusions and cold fronts during winter, Part II: Front-centred perspective.
ABSTRACT: The conceptual picture of an extratropical cyclone typically includes a cold front and a dry intrusion (DI) behind it. By objectively identifying fronts and DIs in ECMWF ERA-Interim data for 1979-2014, Part I quantified the climatological relationship between cold fronts and DIs. Driven by the finding that front intensity and frontal precipitation are enhanced in the presence of DIs, here we employ a front-centred perspective to focus on the dynamical and thermodynamical environment of cold fronts with and without DIs in the Northern Hemisphere winter. Distinguishing between trailing fronts (that connect to a parent cyclone) and isolated fronts, examples of DIs behind each type illustrate the baroclinic environment of the trailing front, and the lack of strong temperature gradients across the isolated front. Composite analyses of North Atlantic and North Pacific fronts outline the major differences in the presence of DIs, compared to similar fronts but without DIs in their vicinity. The magnitude and spatial structure of the modification by DIs depends on the front intensity. Yet, generally with DIs, trailing fronts occur with stronger SLP dipole, deeper upper-tropospheric trough, stronger 10-m wind gusts, enhanced ocean sensible and latent heat fluxes in the cyclone cold sector and heavier precipitation. Isolated weak fronts exhibit similar behaviour, with different spatial structure. This study highlights the central role of DIs for shaping the variability of fronts and their associated environment and impact.
Project description:Cold fronts are a primary feature of the day-to-day variability of weather in the midlatitudes, and feature in conceptual extratropical cyclone models alongside the dry intrusion airstream. Here the climatological frequency and spatial distribution of the co-occurrence of these two features are quantified, and the differences in cold front characteristics (intensity, size, and precipitation) when a dry intrusion is present or not are calculated. Fronts are objectively identified in the ECMWF ERA-Interim dataset for the winter seasons in each hemisphere and split into three sub-types: central fronts (within a cyclone area); trailing fronts (outwith the cyclone area but connected to a central front); and isolated fronts (not connected to a cyclone). These are then associated with dry intrusions identified using Lagrangian trajectory analysis. Trailing fronts are most likely to be associated with a DI in both hemispheres, and this occurs more frequently in the western parts of the major storm track regions. Isolated fronts are linked to DIs more frequently on the eastern ends of the storm tracks, and in the subtropics. All front types, when co-occurring with a DI, are stronger in terms of their temperature gradient, are much larger in area, and typically have higher average precipitation. Therefore, climatologically the link with DIs increases the impact of cold fronts. There are some differences in the statistics of the precipitation for trailing and isolated fronts that are further investigated in Part II of this study from the front-centred perspective.
Project description:Phenomena such as cyclones, fronts and thunderstorms can cause extreme weather in various regions throughout the world. Although these phenomena have been examined in numerous studies, they have not all been systematically examined in combination with each other, including in relation to extreme precipitation and extreme winds throughout the world. Consequently, the combined influence of these phenomena represents a substantial gap in the current understanding of the causes of extreme weather events. Here we present a systematic analysis of cyclones, fronts and thunderstorms in combination with each other, as represented by seven different types of storm combinations. Our results highlight the storm combinations that most frequently cause extreme weather in various regions of the world. The highest risk of extreme precipitation and extreme wind speeds is found to be associated with a triple storm type characterized by concurrent cyclone, front and thunderstorm occurrences. Our findings reveal new insight on the relationships between cyclones, fronts and thunderstorms and clearly demonstrate the importance of concurrent phenomena in causing extreme weather.
Project description:Tropical cyclone rainbands (TCRs) are not only one of the most striking and persistent features of tropical cyclones (TCs) but also one of the major causes for extreme floods as TCs approach or encounter the land area. TCRs have been traditionally considered as manifestations of atmospheric waves initiated near the eyewall or close to the TC center. However, the limited evidence from recent studies showed the possibility for TCRs to develop squall-line-like characteristics in the outer region of TCs. In this study, the degree of the prevalence for this similarity is explored by radar and surface observations from a large set of 50 outer TCRs associated with 22 TCs as they approached Taiwan. The results indicate that around 58% of outer TCRs are similar to squall lines. These outer TCRs are generally characterized by convective precipitation, an obvious convergence zone between the band-relative rear-to-front flow and front-to-rear flow at low levels, either frontward or rearward tilting updrafts, and a surface cold pool signature. The frequent similarity between the outer TCRs and squall lines documented provides important insights into the formation of organized, heavy precipitation associated with TCs.
Project description:Salinity, rather than temperature, is the leading influence on density in some regions of the world's upper oceans. In the Bay of Bengal, heavy monsoonal rains and runoff generate strong salinity gradients that define density fronts and stratification in the upper ~50 m. Ship-based observations made in winter reveal that fronts exist over a wide range of length scales, but at O(1)-km scales, horizontal salinity gradients are compensated by temperature to alleviate about half the cross-front density gradient. Using a process study ocean model, we show that scale-selective compensation occurs because of surface cooling. Submesoscale instabilities cause density fronts to slump, enhancing stratification along-front. Specifically for salinity fronts, the surface mixed layer (SML) shoals on the less saline side, correlating sea surface salinity (SSS) with SML depth at O(1)-km scales. When losing heat to the atmosphere, the shallower and less saline SML experiences a larger drop in temperature compared to the adjacent deeper SML on the salty side of the front, thus correlating sea surface temperature (SST) with SSS at the submesoscale. This compensation of submesoscale fronts can diminish their strength and thwart the forward cascade of energy to smaller scales. During winter, salinity fronts that are dynamically submesoscale experience larger temperature drops, appearing in satellite-derived SST as cold filaments. In freshwater-influenced regions, cold filaments can mark surface-trapped layers insulated from deeper nutrient-rich waters, unlike in other regions, where they indicate upwelling of nutrient-rich water and enhanced surface biological productivity.
Project description:Neutrophil polarity relies on local, mutual inhibition to segregate incompatible signaling circuits to the leading and trailing edges. Mutual inhibition alone should lead to cells having strong fronts and weak backs or vice versa. However, analysis of cell-to-cell variation in human neutrophils revealed that back polarity remains consistent despite changes in front strength. How is this buffering achieved? Pharmacological perturbations and mathematical modeling revealed a functional role for microtubules in buffering back polarity by mediating positive, long-range crosstalk from front to back; loss of microtubules inhibits buffering and results in anticorrelation between front and back signaling. Furthermore, a systematic, computational search of network topologies found that a long-range, positive front-to-back link is necessary for back buffering. Our studies suggest a design principle that can be employed by polarity networks: short-range mutual inhibition establishes distinct signaling regions, after which directed long-range activation insulates one region from variations in the other.
Project description:Tropical convection during the onset of two Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) events, in October and December of 2011, was simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Observations from the Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign were assimilated into the WRF Model for an improved simulation of the mesoscale features of tropical convection. The WRF simulations with the assimilation of DYNAMO data produced realistic representations of mesoscale convection related to westerly wind bursts (WWBs) as well as downdraft-induced gust fronts. An end-to-end simulator (E2ES) for the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission was then applied to the WRF dataset, producing simulated CYGNSS near-surface wind speed data. The results indicated that CYGNSS could detect mesoscale wind features such as WWBs and gust fronts even in the presence of simulated heavy precipitation. This study has two primary conclusions as a consequence: 1) satellite simulators could be used to examine a mission's capabilities for accomplishing secondary tasks and 2) CYGNSS likely will provide benefits to future tropical oceanic field campaigns that should be considered during their planning processes.
Project description:The representation of extratropical cyclones (ETCs) precipitation in general circulation models (GCMs) and a weather research and forecasting (WRF) model is analyzed. This work considers the link between ETC precipitation and dynamical strength and tests if parameterized convection affects this link for ETCs in the North Atlantic Basin. Lagrangian cyclone tracks of ETCs in ERA-Interim reanalysis (ERAI), the GISS and GFDL CMIP5 models, and WRF with two horizontal resolutions are utilized in a compositing analysis. The 20-km resolution WRF model generates stronger ETCs based on surface wind speed and cyclone precipitation. The GCMs and ERAI generate similar composite means and distributions for cyclone precipitation rates, but GCMs generate weaker cyclone surface winds than ERAI. The amount of cyclone precipitation generated by the convection scheme differs significantly across the datasets, with GISS generating the most, followed by ERAI and then GFDL. The models and reanalysis generate relatively more parameterized convective precipitation when the total cyclone-averaged precipitation is smaller. This is partially due to the contribution of parameterized convective precipitation occurring more often late in the ETC life cycle. For reanalysis and models, precipitation increases with both cyclone moisture and surface wind speed, and this is true if the contribution from the parameterized convection scheme is larger or not. This work shows that these different models generate similar total ETC precipitation despite large differences in the parameterized convection, and these differences do not cause unexpected behavior in ETC precipitation sensitivity to cyclone moisture or surface wind speed.
Project description:The present study explores the ability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to accurately reproduce the passage of extratropical cold fronts at the DOE-ARM Eastern North Atlantic (ENA) observation site on the Azores Islands. An analysis of three case studies is performed in which the impact of the WRF domain size, position of the model boundary relative to the ENA site, grid spacing, and spectral nudging conditions are explored. The results from these case studies indicate that model biases in the timing and duration of cold front passages change with the distance between the model domain boundary and the ENA site. For these three cases, if the western model boundary is further than 1500 km from the site, the front becomes too meridional and fails to reach the site, making 1000 km or 1500 km the optimal distances. In contrast, integrations with small distances (e.g., 500 km) between the site and domain boundaries have inadequate spatial spin-up, i.e. the domain is too small for the model to properly stabilize. For all 3 cases, regardless of domain size, the model has biases in its upper-level circulation that impact the position and timing of the front. However, this issue is most serious for 4000 km2 domains and larger. For these domains, prolonged spectral nudging can correct cold front biases. As such, this analysis provides a framework to optimize the WRF model configuration necessary for a realistic hindcast of a cold front passage at a fixed location centered in a domain as large as computationally possible.
Project description:Precipitation patterns over Europe are largely controlled by atmospheric cyclones embedded in the general circulation of the mid-latitudes. This study evaluates the climatologic features of precipitation for selected regions in central Europe with respect to cyclone track types for 1959-2015, focusing on large-scale heavy precipitation. The analysis suggests that each of the cyclone track types is connected to a specific pattern of the upper level atmospheric flow, usually characterized by a major trough located over Europe. A dominant upper level cut-off low (COL) is found over Europe for strong continental (CON) and van Bebber's type (Vb) cyclones which move from the east and southeast into central Europe. Strong Vb cyclones revealed the longest residence times, mainly due to circular propagation paths. The central European cyclone precipitation climate can largely be explained by seasonal track-type frequency and cyclone intensity; however, additional factors are needed to explain a secondary precipitation maximum in early autumn. The occurrence of large precipitation totals for track events is strongly related to the track type and the region, with the highest value of 45% of all Vb cyclones connected to heavy precipitation in summer over the Czech Republic and eastern Austria. In western Germany, Atlantic winter cyclones are most relevant for heavy precipitation. The analysis of the top 50 precipitation events revealed an outstanding heavy precipitation period from 2006 to 2011 in the Czech Republic, but no gradual long-term change. The findings help better understand spatio-temporal variability of heavy precipitation in the context of floods and may be used for evaluating climate models.
Project description:I test for macroscale intraspecific variation of abundance, mortality, and regeneration of four eastern US tree species (Tsuga canadensis,Betula lenta,Liriodendron tulipifera, and Quercus prinus) by splitting them into three climatic zones based on plant hardiness zones (PHZs). The primary goals of the analysis are to assess the differences in environmental heterogeneity and demographic responses among climatic zones, map regional species groups based on decision tree rules, and evaluate univariate and multivariate patterns of species demography with respect to environmental variables. I use the Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) data to derive abundance, mortality, and regeneration indices and split the range into three climatic zones based on USDA PHZs: (1) cold adapted, leading region; (2) middle, well-adapted region; and (3) warm adapted, trailing region. I employ decision tree ensemble methods to assess the importance of environmental predictors on the abundance of the species between the cold and warm zones and map zonal variations in species groups. Multivariate regression trees are used to simultaneously explore abundance, mortality, and regeneration in tandem to assess species vulnerability. Analyses point to the relative importance of climate in the warm adapted, trailing zone (especially moisture) compared to the cold adapted, leading zone. Higher mortality and lower regeneration patterns in the warm trailing zone point to its vulnerability to growing season temperature and precipitation changes that could figure more prominently in the future. This study highlights the need to account for intraspecific variation of demography in order to understand environmental heterogeneity and differential adaptation. It provides a methodology for assessing the vulnerability of tree species by delineating climatic zones based on easily available PHZ data, and FIA derived abundance, mortality, and regeneration indices as a proxy for overall growth and fitness. Based on decision tree rules, ecologically meaningful variations in species abundance among the climatic zones can be related to environmental variability and mapped.