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Climatology of polar lows over the Sea of Japan using the JRA-55 reanalysis

Yanase, W., Niino, H., Watanabe, S.-I. I., Hodges, K., Zahn, M., Spengler, T. and Gurvich, I. A. (2016) Climatology of polar lows over the Sea of Japan using the JRA-55 reanalysis. Journal of Climate, 29 (2). pp. 419-437. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0291.1

Abstract/Summary

Polar lows are intense meso- a -scale cyclones that develop over the oceans poleward of the main baroclinic zone. A number of previous studies have reported polar low formation over the Sea of Japan within the East Asian winter monsoon. To understand the climatology of polar lows over the Sea of Japan, a tracking al- gorithm for polar lows is applied to the recent JRA-55 reanalysis. The polar low tracking is applied to 36 cold seasons (October–March) from October 1979 to March 2015. The polar lows over the Sea of Japan reach their maximum intensity on the southeastern side of the midline between the Japanese islands and the Asian continent. Consistent with previous case studies, composite analysis demonstrates that the polar low devel- opment is associated with the enhanced northerly flow on the western side of a synoptic-scale extratropical cyclone, with the cold trough in the midtroposphere and with increased heat fluxes from the sea surface. Furthermore, the present climatological study has revealed two dominant directions of motion of the polar lows: southward and eastward. Southward-moving polar lows are steered by a strong northerly flow in the lower troposphere, which is enhanced on the western side of synoptic-scale extratropical cyclones, while the eastward-moving polar lows occur within a planetary-scale westerly flow in the midlatitudes. Thus, the di- rection of polar low motion reflects the difference in planetary- and synoptic-scale conditions.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:55085
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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