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Distinguishing the cold conveyor belt and sting jet air streams in an intense extratropical cyclone

Martinez-Alvarado, O., Baker, L. H., Gray, S. L., Methven, J. and Plant, R. S. (2014) Distinguishing the cold conveyor belt and sting jet air streams in an intense extratropical cyclone. Monthly Weather Review, 142 (8). pp. 2571-2595. ISSN 1520-0493

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00348.1

Abstract/Summary

Strong winds equatorwards and rearwards of a cyclone core have often been associated with two phenomena, the cold conveyor belt (CCB) jet and sting jets. Here, detailed observations of the mesoscale structure in this region of an intense cyclone are analysed. The {\it in-situ} and dropsonde observations were obtained during two research flights through the cyclone during the DIAMET (DIAbatic influences on Mesoscale structures in ExTratropical storms) field campaign. A numerical weather prediction model is used to link the strong wind regions with three types of ``air streams'', or coherent ensembles of trajectories: two types are identified with the CCB, hooking around the cyclone center, while the third is identified with a sting jet, descending from the cloud head to the west of the cyclone. Chemical tracer observations show for the first time that the CCB and sting jet air streams are distinct air masses even when the associated low-level wind maxima are not spatially distinct. In the model, the CCB experiences slow latent heating through weak resolved ascent and convection, while the sting jet experiences weak cooling associated with microphysics during its subsaturated descent. Diagnosis of mesoscale instabilities in the model shows that the CCB passes through largely stable regions, while the sting jet spends relatively long periods in locations characterized by conditional symmetric instability (CSI). The relation of CSI to the observed mesoscale structure of the bent-back front and its possible role in the cloud banding is discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:36256
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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