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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 22, Issue 6–7, pp 757–769 | Cite as

Objective cyclone climatologies of the North Atlantic – a comparison between the ECMWF and NCEP Reanalyses

  • C. E. HansonEmail author
  • J. P. Palutikof
  • T. D. Davies
Article

Abstract

Simple and easily reproducible techniques have been used to construct two objective cyclone climatologies of the North Atlantic-European sector. The goal of this study is to increase understanding of cyclones with the potential to cause damage, in particular, those reaching Beaufort category 7 and above. The two climatologies constructed here span the period 1979–2000 and have been developed from reanalysis mean sea level pressure data from the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts) and NCEP (National Centres for Environmental Prediction). The ECMWF reanalysis data are only available for 15 years, and have been extended from 1994 using operational analyses. The major temporal and spatial characteristics of North Atlantic cyclones are examined and a comparison between the climatologies developed from the two data sets is carried out. The well-known cyclogenesis regions along the east coast of the United States and to the southeast of Greenland are replicated by both reanalyses, as is the characteristic southwest/northeast orientation of the dominant cyclone track across the Atlantic basin. However, only weak correlations are found between the time series of cyclone frequency produced from the two reanalyses, and this is particularly true for the lower intensity Beaufort Scale category 0–6 cyclones. This result, together with the large differences in the spatial distribution of cyclones over Greenland for Beaufort Scale 0–6 cyclones, indicates the NCEP reanalyses generates fewer systems than the ECMWF reanalyses. The overall conclusion is that the ECMWF mean sea level pressure data produce a more comprehensive climatology of North Atlantic cyclones at all scales.

Keywords

Cyclone Cyclone Frequency Intense Cyclone Gradient Wind Speed Cyclone Climatology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Isabel Trigo for her valuable assistance. Thanks go to the NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, Boulder, Colorado, USA, for providing the NCEP Reanalysis data via their Web site at http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/ and also the British Atmospheric Data Centre (http://www.badc.rl.ac.uk/) who supplied the ECMWF data. We would also like to thank the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK for providing support throughout the preparation of this work.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. E. Hanson
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. P. Palutikof
    • 1
  • T. D. Davies
    • 2
  1. 1.Climatic Research UnitUniversity of East AngliaNorwich NR4 7TJUK
  2. 2.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwich NR4 7TJUK

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