Satellite climatological aspects of cold air mesocyclones in the Arctic and Antarctic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cold air meso-scale cyclones occurring in the Arctic and Antarctic are compared in terms of their satellite-observed cloud vortex signatures, climatological regimes, and accompanying broadscale atmospheric and oceanic environments. Major similarities between the two polar regions include the occurrence of both single-banded ('comma cloud') and multi-banded ('spiraliform') mesocyclone cloud vortices; the preference for mesocyclones to occur in groups as 'outbreaks'; and their association with anomalies of the larger-scale atmospheric and upper ocean circulations, including the sea ice extent. Major differences between Arctic and Antarctic mesocyclones include the following: more frequent occurrences of the intense and deeply convective 'polar low' sub-type in the north polar region, where these systems may also be larger than their Southern Hemisphere counterparts; contrasts in the seasonal distributions of systems; and inferred differences in the dominant mechanisms initiating mesocyclone outbreaks at regional scales, particularly baroclinic instability, CISK (Conditional Instability of the Second Kind) and ASII (Air-Sea Interaction Instability). These differences are explained largely through consideration of the physical geography of the two higher latitude regions: their land-sea distributions, patterns of sea-ice and snowcover extent, and the extent of continental glacierization. There is a greater role apparent for topography and downslope (katabatic) winds in mesocyclone developments over ice-covered surfaces close to Antarctica; however, sea-air fluxes of heat and moisture are important for polar lows in the Arctic marginal seas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-42
Number of pages42
JournalGlobal Atmosphere and Ocean System
Volume5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996

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cold air
polar region
vortex
sea ice
air-sea interaction
baroclinic instability
marginal sea
physical geography
upper ocean
cyclone
Southern Hemisphere
moisture
topography
anomaly
ice
air
distribution
sea

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

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title = "Satellite climatological aspects of cold air mesocyclones in the Arctic and Antarctic",
abstract = "Cold air meso-scale cyclones occurring in the Arctic and Antarctic are compared in terms of their satellite-observed cloud vortex signatures, climatological regimes, and accompanying broadscale atmospheric and oceanic environments. Major similarities between the two polar regions include the occurrence of both single-banded ('comma cloud') and multi-banded ('spiraliform') mesocyclone cloud vortices; the preference for mesocyclones to occur in groups as 'outbreaks'; and their association with anomalies of the larger-scale atmospheric and upper ocean circulations, including the sea ice extent. Major differences between Arctic and Antarctic mesocyclones include the following: more frequent occurrences of the intense and deeply convective 'polar low' sub-type in the north polar region, where these systems may also be larger than their Southern Hemisphere counterparts; contrasts in the seasonal distributions of systems; and inferred differences in the dominant mechanisms initiating mesocyclone outbreaks at regional scales, particularly baroclinic instability, CISK (Conditional Instability of the Second Kind) and ASII (Air-Sea Interaction Instability). These differences are explained largely through consideration of the physical geography of the two higher latitude regions: their land-sea distributions, patterns of sea-ice and snowcover extent, and the extent of continental glacierization. There is a greater role apparent for topography and downslope (katabatic) winds in mesocyclone developments over ice-covered surfaces close to Antarctica; however, sea-air fluxes of heat and moisture are important for polar lows in the Arctic marginal seas.",
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Satellite climatological aspects of cold air mesocyclones in the Arctic and Antarctic. / Carleton, Andrew Mark.

In: Global Atmosphere and Ocean System, Vol. 5, No. 1, 01.12.1996, p. 1-42.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Cold air meso-scale cyclones occurring in the Arctic and Antarctic are compared in terms of their satellite-observed cloud vortex signatures, climatological regimes, and accompanying broadscale atmospheric and oceanic environments. Major similarities between the two polar regions include the occurrence of both single-banded ('comma cloud') and multi-banded ('spiraliform') mesocyclone cloud vortices; the preference for mesocyclones to occur in groups as 'outbreaks'; and their association with anomalies of the larger-scale atmospheric and upper ocean circulations, including the sea ice extent. Major differences between Arctic and Antarctic mesocyclones include the following: more frequent occurrences of the intense and deeply convective 'polar low' sub-type in the north polar region, where these systems may also be larger than their Southern Hemisphere counterparts; contrasts in the seasonal distributions of systems; and inferred differences in the dominant mechanisms initiating mesocyclone outbreaks at regional scales, particularly baroclinic instability, CISK (Conditional Instability of the Second Kind) and ASII (Air-Sea Interaction Instability). These differences are explained largely through consideration of the physical geography of the two higher latitude regions: their land-sea distributions, patterns of sea-ice and snowcover extent, and the extent of continental glacierization. There is a greater role apparent for topography and downslope (katabatic) winds in mesocyclone developments over ice-covered surfaces close to Antarctica; however, sea-air fluxes of heat and moisture are important for polar lows in the Arctic marginal seas.

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