Serial clustering of extratropical cyclones
Mailier, P. J., Stephenson, D. B., Ferro, C. A. T. and Hodges, K. I. (2006) Serial clustering of extratropical cyclones. Monthly Weather Review, 134 (8). pp. 2224-2240. ISSN 1520-0493
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/MWR3160.1
The clustering in time (seriality) of extratropical cyclones is responsible for large cumulative insured losses in western Europe, though surprisingly little scientific attention has been given to this important property. This study investigates and quantifies the seriality of extratropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere using a point-process approach. A possible mechanism for serial clustering is the time-varying effect of the large-scale flow on individual cyclone tracks. Another mechanism is the generation by one parent cyclone of one or more offspring through secondary cyclogenesis. A long cyclone-track database was constructed for extended October March winters from 1950 to 2003 using 6-h analyses of 850-mb relative vorticity derived from the NCEP NCAR reanalysis. A dispersion statistic based on the varianceto- mean ratio of monthly cyclone counts was used as a measure of clustering. It reveals extensive regions of statistically significant clustering in the European exit region of the North Atlantic storm track and over the central North Pacific. Monthly cyclone counts were regressed on time-varying teleconnection indices with a log-linear Poisson model. Five independent teleconnection patterns were found to be significant factors over Europe: the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the east Atlantic pattern, the Scandinavian pattern, the east Atlantic western Russian pattern, and the polar Eurasian pattern. The NAO alone is not sufficient for explaining the variability of cyclone counts in the North Atlantic region and western Europe. Rate dependence on time-varying teleconnection indices accounts for the variability in monthly cyclone counts, and a cluster process did not need to be invoked.