An extratropical cyclone database: A tool for illustrating cyclone structure and evolution characteristics
Dacre, H.F., Hawcroft, M.K., Stringer, M.A. and Hodges, K.I. (2012) An extratropical cyclone database: A tool for illustrating cyclone structure and evolution characteristics. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93. pp. 1497-1502. ISSN 1520-0477
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00164.1
Extratropical cyclone lifecycles have been studied extensively with the aim of understanding the dynamical mechanisms involved in their development. Previous work has often been based on subjective analysis of individual case studies. Such case studies have contributed heavily to the generation of conceptual models of extratropical cyclones that provide a framework for understanding the dynamical evolution of cyclones. These conceptual models are widely used in educational meteorology courses throughout the world to illustrate the basic structure and evolution of extratropical cyclones. This article presents a database of extratropical cyclone composites which highlight the average structure and evolution of 20 years of extratropical cyclones, as opposed to individual case studies. The composite fields are achieved by combining a database containing cyclone tracks from the ERA-Interim reanalysis (1989-2009, 6 hourly) with the full 3D ERA-Interim reanalysis fields. Vertical and horizontal composites of cyclone structure for cyclones generated in the Atlantic and Pacific regions identifying features such as the relative positions of cold, warm and occluded fronts and their associated wind and cloud patterns are shown. In addition the evolution of cyclonic flows such as the warm and cold conveyor belts and dry intrusion are illustrated. A webpage containing an archive of the composited data is freely available for educational purposes.