Numerical simulations and the analysis of observational data are employed to understand the mesoscale cyclogenesis in a polar airstream that occurred over the sea to the east of the Korean peninsula on 28–29 January 1995. The observational analysis shows that a mesoscale low develops over the southeastern East Sea (Japan Sea) on 29 January 1995. Satellite imagery also indicates that a meso- β -scale vortex forms on the lee side of the northern Korean mountain complex (KMC), which is located in the northern Korean peninsula, and that a meso- α -scale cyclone develops over the southeastern East Sea at a later time. The mesoscale cyclone forms in the lower troposphere with strong baroclinicity and cyclonic circulation under the influence of an upper-level synoptic-scale cold vortex. Numerical simulation has captured major features of the observed cyclogenesis very well. The cyclogenesis occurs in a progressive manner. Basically, four distinctive stages of the cyclogenesis are identified. 1) First, a surface pressure trough forms on the lee side of the KMC under a northwesterly synoptic-scale flow that is deflected anticyclonically over the KMC. 2) Second, the lee trough deepens further into a strong convergence zone and a meso- β -scale vortex. 3) Next, the meso- β -scale vortex develops into a meso- α -scale vortex as the vortex and the trough begin to move southeastward from the lee of the KMC. 4) Finally, the surface trough deepens into a closed low and the meso- α -scale vortex becomes collocated with this deepening surface low to form a meso- α -scale cyclone over the southeastern East Sea. Several sensitivity experiments are performed to isolate the effects of a topography, warmer sea surface, diurnal thermal forcing, and latent heat release. During stages 1 and 2, it is found that the KMC and low-level baroclinicity are responsible for generating the strong lee trough and vortex. During stage 3, the development of the meso- α -scale vortex is brought on by the tilting of horizontal vorticity and vertical stretching in a synoptic-scale cyclonic circulation. In the final stage, the condensational heating plays the key role for the development of the meso- α -scale cyclone under the influence of an upper-level synoptic-scale cold vortex. The presence of the warm sea surface is found to be a necessary condition for the development of a polar air convergence zone and the mesoscale cyclone. It is also found that the low-level baroclinicity is essential for the present case of mesoscale cyclogenesis.
Monthly Weather Review – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 9, 1996