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Diabatic processes and the evolution of two contrasting summer extratropical cyclones

Martinez-Alvarado, O., Gray, S. L. and Methven, J. (2016) Diabatic processes and the evolution of two contrasting summer extratropical cyclones. Monthly Weather Review, 144 (9). pp. 3251-3276. ISSN 0027-0644

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0395.1


Extratropical cyclones are typically weaker and less frequent in summer as a result of differences in the background state flow and diabatic processes with respect to other seasons. Two extratropical cyclones were observed in summer 2012 with a research aircraft during the DIAMET (DIAbatic influences on Mesoscale structure in ExTratropical storms) field campaign. The first cyclone deepened only down to 995 hPa; the second cyclone deepened down to 978 hPa and formed a potential vorticity (PV) tower, a frequent signature of intense cyclones. The objectives of this article are to quantify the effects of diabatic processes and their parametrizations on cyclone dynamics. The cyclones were analyzed through numerical simulations incorporating tracers for the effects of diabatic processes on potential temperature and PV. The simulations were compared with radar rainfall observations and dropsonde measurements. It was found that the observed maximum vapor flux in the stronger cyclone was twice as strong as in the weaker cyclone; the water vapor mass flow along the warm conveyor belt of the stronger cyclone was over half that typical in winter. The model overestimated water vapor mass flow by approximately a factor of two due to deeper structure in the rearwards flow and humidity in the weaker case. An integral tracer interpretation is introduced, relating the tracers with cross-isentropic mass transport and circulation. It is shown that the circulation around the cyclone increases much more slowly than the amplitude of the diabatically-generated PV tower. This effect is explained using the PV impermeability theorem.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:65848
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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