Building a tropical-extratropical cloud band metbot
Hart, N. C.G., Reason, C. J.C. and Fauchereau, N. (2012) Building a tropical-extratropical cloud band metbot. Monthly Weather Review, 140 (12). pp. 4005-4016. ISSN 0027-0644
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-12-00127.1
An automated cloud band identification procedure is developed that captures the meteorology of such events over southern Africa. This “metbot” is built upon a connected component labelling method that enables blob detection in various atmospheric fields. Outgoing longwave radiation is used to flag candidate cloud band days by thresholding the data and requiring detected blobs to have sufficient latitudinal extent and exhibit positive tilt. The Laplacian operator is used on gridded reanalysis variables to highlight other features of meteorological interest. The ability of this methodology to capture the significant meteorology and rainfall of these synoptic systems is tested in a case study. Usefulness of the metbot in understanding event to event similarities of meteorological features is demonstrated, highlighting features previous studies have noted as key ingredients to cloud band development in the region. Moreover, this allows the presentation of a composite cloud band life cycle for southern Africa events. The potential of metbot to study multiscale interactions is discussed, emphasising its key strength: the ability to retain details of extreme and infrequent events. It automatically builds a database that is ideal for research questions focused on the influence of intraseasonal to interannual variability processes on synoptic events. Application of the method to convergence zone studies and atmospheric river descriptions is suggested. In conclusion, a relation-building metbot can retain details that are often lost with object-based methods but are crucial in case studies. Capturing and summarising these details may be necessary to develop deeper process-level understanding of multiscale interactions.