AbstractPolar mesoscale cyclones (PMCs) are automatically detected and tracked over the Nordic seas using the Melbourne University algorithm applied to the ERA-Interim reanalysis. The novelty of this study lies in the length of the dataset (1979-2014), the usage of PMC tracks to infer relationships to large-scale flow patterns, and elucidating the sensitivity to different selection criteria when defining PMCs and polar lows and their genesis environments.The angle between the ambient mean and thermal wind is used to distinguish two different PMCs genesis environments. The forward shear environment (thermal and mean wind in same direction) features typical baroclinic conditions with a temperature gradient at the surface and a strong jet stream at the tropopause. The reverse shear environment (thermal and mean wind in opposite direction) features an occluded cyclone with a barotropic structure throughout the entire troposphere and a low-level jet.In contrast to previous studies, PMC occurrence does neither feature a significant trend nor a significant link with the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Scandinavian Blocking (SB), though the SB negative pattern seems to promote reverse shear PMC genesis. The sea ice extent in the Nordic seas is not associated with overall changes in PMC occurrence but influences the genesis location. Selected cold air outbreak indices and the temperature difference between the sea surface and 500 hPa (SST-T500) show no robust link with PMC occurrence but the characteristics of forward shear PMCs and their synoptic environments are sensitive to the choice of the SST-T500 threshold.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 6, 2017
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