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The imprint of strong-storm tracks on winter weather in North America

Lukens, K. E., Berbery, E. H. and Hodges, K. I. (2018) The imprint of strong-storm tracks on winter weather in North America. Journal of Climate, 31 (5). pp. 2057-2074. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-17-0420.1

Abstract/Summary

Northern Hemisphere winter storm tracks and their relation to winter weather are investigated using CFSR data. Storm tracks are described by isentropic PV maxima within a Lagrangian framework; these correspond well with those described in previous studies. Our diagnostics focus on strong-storm tracks, which are comprised of storms that achieve a maximum PV exceeding the mean value by one standard deviation. Large increases in diabatic heating related to deep convection occur where the storm tracks are most intense. The cyclogenesis pattern shows that strong storms generally develop on the upstream sectors of the tracks. Intensification happens towards the eastern North Pacific and all across the North Atlantic Ocean, where enhanced storm track-related weather is found. In this study, the relation of storm tracks to near-surface winds and precipitation is evaluated. The largest increases in storm track-related winds are found where strong storms tend to develop and intensify, while storm precipitation is enhanced in areas where the storm tracks have the highest intensity. Strong storms represent about 16% of all storms but contribute 30-50% of the storm precipitation in the storm track regions. Both strong-storm related winds and precipitation are prone to cause storm-related losses in the eastern US and North American coasts. Over the oceans, maritime operations are expected to be most vulnerable to damage offshore of the US coasts. Despite making up a small fraction of all storms, the strong-storm tracks have a significant imprint on winter weather in North America potentially leading to structural and economic loss.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:74401
Uncontrolled Keywords:Atmospheric Science
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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