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The role of large-scale atmospheric flow and Rossby wave breaking in the evolution of extreme windstorms over Europe
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2012 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 39, L21708- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigate the relationship between large-scale atmospheric flow and the evolution of the most extreme windstorms affecting Western Continental Europe. The 25 most destructive Western Continental European wind storms are selected from a 43-year climatology. 22 of these storms are grouped as having a similar trajectory and evolution. We show that these storms typically occur during particularly strong and persistent positive NAO anomalies which peak approximately 2 days before the storms' peak intensity; the NAO pattern then shifts eastward to a position over the European continent when the storms strike Europe. A temporal composite of potential temperature on the 2-PVU surface suggests that this NAO shift is the result of simultaneous cyclonic and anticyclonic wave breaking penetrating further to the east than during a typical high-NAO event. This creates an extremely intense, zonally-orientated jet over the North Atlantic whose baroclinicity favours explosive intensification of storms while steering them into Western Continental Europe.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 39, L21708- p.
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83809DOI: 10.1029/2012GL053408ISI: 000310963000001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83809DiVA: diva2:577133
Note

AuthorCount:2;

Available from: 2012-12-14 Created: 2012-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Extreme Storms in the North Atlantic and Europe
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Extreme Storms in the North Atlantic and Europe
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A study of the most extreme cyclones affecting the North Atlantic and Europe is presented with particular focus on extreme windstorms over the densely populated area of Western Europe, whose associated high surface wind speeds are capable of causing extensive structural damage and occasionally a loss of life.

A novel cyclone identification and tracking algorithm is presented which explicitly recognises ‘multi-centre cyclones’ (MCCs), defined as cyclonic systems which contain two or three sea-level pressure minima. The method also recognises cyclone merging and splitting events and reduces the number of tracks which would have been spuriously split at some point in their life-cycle. MCC frequency is shown to increase with storm intensity, with approximately 60% of the top 30% of cyclones constituting MCCs at some point in their life-cycle.

The first findings of the IMILAST (Inter-comparison of MId-LAtitudeSTorm diagnostics) project, an intercomparison study of 15 cyclone identification and tracking algorithms, are presented. Each method was applied to a 20 year period of the ERA-Interim dataset and results for cyclone frequency, intensity, life-cycle and track location were compared across the methods.

The relationship between the evolution of the most intense wind storms affecting Western Europe (Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia, and Western Continental Europe) and the large-scale atmospheric flow is investigated using an automated cyclone tracking algorithm and an objective measure of cyclone destructiveness applied to ERA40 and ERA-Interim reanalysis data as well as EC-Earth model output data at two different spatial resolutions. Composite analyses reveal a clear connection between the precise location of upper-level anti-cyclonic wave breaking and cold air intrusion from the north and the position and orientation of an intense jet; this, in turn, plays a crucial role in determining into which region a developing extreme storm will be steered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, 2013. 44 p.
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86533 (URN)978-91-7447-630-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-02-05, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Epub ahead of print. Paper 4: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2013-01-15 Created: 2013-01-14 Last updated: 2013-06-12Bibliographically approved

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