Sensitivities of a cyclone detection and tracking algorithm: individual tracks and climatology
Pinto, Joaquim G.; Spangehl, Thomas; Ulbrich, Uwe; Speth, Peter
Northern Hemisphere cyclone activity is assessed by applying an algorithm for the detection and tracking of synoptic scale cyclones to mean sea level pressure data. The method, originally developed for the Southern Hemisphere, is adapted for application in the Northern Hemisphere winter season. NCEP-Reanalysis data from 1958/59 to 1997/98 are used as input. The sensitivities of the results to particular parameters of the algorithm are discussed for both case studies and from a climatological point of view. Results show that the choice of settings is of major relevance especially for the tracking of smaller scale and fast moving systems. With an appropriate setting the algorithm is capable of automatically tracking different types of cyclones at the same time: Both fast moving and developing systems over the large ocean basins and smaller scale cyclones over the Mediterranean basin can be assessed. The climatology of cyclone variables, e.g., cyclone track density, cyclone counts, intensification rates, propagation speeds and areas of cyclogenesis and -lysis gives detailed information on typical cyclone life cycles for different regions. The lowering of the spatial and temporal resolution of the input data from full resolution T62/06h to T42/12h decreases the cyclone track density and cyclone counts. Reducing the temporal resolution alone contributes to a decline in the number of fast moving systems, which is relevant for the cyclone track density. Lowering spatial resolution alone mainly reduces the number of weak cyclones.