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Contributions of downstream baroclinic development to strong southern hemisphere cut-off lows

Pinheiro, H. R., Gan, M. A., Hodges, K. I., Ferreira, S. H. S. and Andrade, K. M. (2022) Contributions of downstream baroclinic development to strong southern hemisphere cut-off lows. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 148 (742). pp. 214-232. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.4201


Cut-off Lows (COLs) in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) and the mechanisms involved in their development are investigated in detail using the eddy kinetic energy (EKE) budget applied to data from the ERA-Interim reanalysis. This approach considers the most important processes that are typical for the evolution of midlatitude disturbances such as the baroclinic (BRC) and barotropic (BRT) conversions, and the ageostrophic flux convergence (AFC), known as downstream development. Composites of the volume-integrated EKE and its components are evaluated based on the 200 most intense SH COLs (> 98th percentile) observed in a 36-yr period. Results show that the AFC together with the BRC conversion are the most important contributor to the EKE growth for the COLs, characterizing the downstream baroclinic development. The AFC plays an important role in genesis and intensification phases of the COLs, while the BRC conversion is important for the system maintenance. The dissipation of the COLs occurs due to dispersive fluxes (ageostrophic flux divergence) together with other processes not directly computed in the EKE equation, such as friction and latent heat release which are problematic in reanalysis datasets. The BRT conversion contributes negatively to the COL development by transferring EKE to the zonal flow kinetic energy, though this is not enough to dampen the intensification. Regional differences were found in the energetics, indicating that COLs originating upstream of the continents are clearly dominated by ageostrophic fluxes, while the systems over the Australian region are mostly driven by baroclinic processes.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:97919
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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