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Weather and Forecasting





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Using quasigeostrophic arguments and numerical simulations, past works have developed conceptual models of vertical circulations induced by linear and curved jet streaks. Because jet-induced vertical motion could influence the development of severe weather, these conceptual models, especially the "four quadrant" model for linear jet streaks, are often applied by operational forecasters. The present study examines the climatology of tornado, hail, and severe wind reports relative to upper-level jet streaks, along with temporal trends in storm report frequencies and changes in report distributions for different jet streak directions. In addition, composite fields (e.g., divergence, vertical velocity) are analyzed for jet streak regions to examine whether the fields correspond to what is expected from conceptual models of curved or linear jet streaks, and whether the fields help explain the storm report distributions. During the period analyzed, 84% of storm reports were associated with upper-level jet streaks, with June-August having the lowest percentages. In March and April the left-exit quadrant had the most storm reports, while after April the right-entrance quadrant was associated with the most reports. Composites revealed that tornado and hail reports are concentrated in the jet-exit region along the major jet axis and in the rightentrance quadrant. Wind reports have similar maxima, but the right-entrance quadrant maximum is more pronounced. Upper-level composite divergence fields generally correspond to what would be expected from the four-quadrant model, but differences in the magnitudes of the vertical velocity between the quadrants and locations of divergent-convergent centers may have resulted from jet curvature. The maxima in the storm report distributions are not well collocated with the maxima in the upper-level divergence fields, but are much better collocated with low-level convergence maxima that exist in both exit regions and extend into the right-entrance region. Composites of divergence-convergence with linear, cyclonic, and anticyclonic jet streaks also generally matched conceptual models for curved jet streaks, and it was found that wind reports have a notable maximum in the right-entrance quadrant of both anticyclonic and linear jet streaks. Finally, it was found that the upper-level divergence and vertical velocity in all jet-quadrants have a tendency to decrease as jet streak directions shift from SSW to NNW.


This article is from Weather and Forecasting 24 (2009): 1032, doi: 10.1175/2009WAF2222216.1. Posted with permission.

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American Meteorological Society



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