Characteristics of cyclones following different pathways in the Gulf Stream region
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 2021, 147 (734), 392-407. https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.3924
The Northwest Atlantic is a region of strong temperature gradients and hence is a favourable location for wintertime cyclone intensification co-located with the storm track. The temperature gradient is associated with both the sea surface temperature front along the Gulf Stream and the land–sea contrast. To understand the respective influences of the sea surface temperature (SST) front and land–sea contrast in the Gulf Stream region, as well as the role of upper-level forcing on cyclone development, we track individual cyclones and categorise them depending on their propagation relative to the SST front. We concentrate on cyclones staying either on the cold (C1) or warm (C2) side of the SST front, and on cyclones that cross the SST front from the warm to the cold side (C3). Comparing these categories, we find that the land–sea contrast is more important for supplying baroclinicity to cyclones in C1, while the strong low-level baroclinicity in C3 is also partially attributable to the SST front. The propagation of cyclones in C1 and C3 near the left exit region of the North Atlantic jet explains the higher intensification and precipitation.