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Sting-jet windstorms over the North Atlantic: climatology and contribution to extreme wind risk

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Hart, N. C.G., Gray, S. L. and Clark, P. A. (2017) Sting-jet windstorms over the North Atlantic: climatology and contribution to extreme wind risk. Journal of Climate, 30 (14). pp. 5455-5471. ISSN 0894-8755

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0791.1

Abstract/Summary

Extratropical cyclones with damaging winds can have large socio-economic impacts when they make landfall. During the last decade, studies have identified a mesoscale transient jet, the sting jet, that descends from the tip of the hooked cloud head towards the top of the boundary layer in the dry intrusion region as a cause of strong surface winds, and especially gusts, in some cyclones. While many case studies have focused on the dynamics and characteristics of these jets, there have been few studies that assess the climatology of the associated cyclones and their importance for wind risk. Here we determine the climatological characteristics of North Atlantic cyclones in terms of the possibility that they had sting jets using a previously-published sting-jet precursor diagnostic applied to ERA-Interim data over 32 extended winter seasons from 1979–2012. Of the 5447 cyclones tracked, 32% had the precursor (42% in the 22% of cyclones that developed explosively). Precursor storms have a more southerly and zonal storm track than storms without the precursor and precursor storms tend to be more intense as defined by 850-hPa relative vorticity. This study also shows that precursor storms are the dominant cause of cyclone-related resolved strong wind events over the British Isles for 850-hPa windspeeds exceeding 30 ms−1. Hence, early detection of a sting jet storm could give advance warning of enhanced wind risk. However, over continental northwestern Europe, precusor cyclone-related windstorm events occur far less often.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:70526
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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