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Objective determination of the extratropical transition of tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere

Studholme, J., Hodges, K. I. and Brierley, C. M. (2015) Objective determination of the extratropical transition of tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere. Tellus Series A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 67. 24474. ISSN 0280-6495

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3402/tellusa.v67.24474


Extratropical transition (ET) has eluded objective identification since the realisation of its existence in the 1970s. Recent advances in numerical, computational models have provided data of higher resolution than previously available. In conjunction with this, an objective characterisation of the structure of a storm has now become widely accepted in the literature. Here we present a method of combining these two advances to provide an objective method for defining ET. The approach involves applying K-means clustering to isolate different life-cycle stages of cyclones and then analysing the progression through these stages. This methodology is then tested by applying it to five recent years from the European Centre of Medium-Range Weather Forecasting operational analyses. It is found that this method is able to determine the general characteristics for ET in the Northern Hemisphere. Between 2008 and 2012, 54% (±7, 32 of 59) of Northern Hemisphere tropical storms are estimated to undergo ET. There is great variability across basins and time of year. To fully capture all the instances of ET is necessary to introduce and characterise multiple pathways through transition. Only one of the three transition types needed has been previously well-studied. A brief description of the alternate types of transitions is given, along with illustrative storms, to assist with further study

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:46259


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