Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 100, Issue 3–4, pp 239–250 | Cite as

Climatology of extratropical cyclones over the South American–southern oceans sector

  • David Mendes
  • Enio P. Souza
  • José A. Marengo
  • Monica C. D. Mendes
Original Paper


A climatology of extratropical cyclones is presented. Extratropical cyclones, their main characteristics and their predominant tracks, as well as their interannual variability, affect weather in South America. For that purpose, a storm track database has been compiled by applying a cyclone tracking scheme to six-hourly sea level pressure fields, available from the National Center for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalyses II for the 1979–2003 period. The spatial distribution of the cyclogenesis frequency shows two main centers: one around Northern Argentina, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil in all seasons and the other near to the North Antarctic Peninsula. The lifetime of extratropical cyclones in the South American sector exhibits small seasonality, being typically of the order of 3.0 days during most of the year and slightly higher (3.5 days) in austral summer. The distance travelled by the cyclones formed in the South American sector tends to be smaller than the total paths found in other areas of the Southern Hemisphere. A k-mean clustering technique is used to summarize the analysis of the 25-year climatology of cyclone tracks. Three clusters were found: one storm-track cluster in Northeast Argentina; a second one west of the Andes Cordillera; and a third cluster located to the north of the Antarctic Peninsula (around the Weddell Sea). The influence of the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) in the variability of extratropical cyclones is explored, and some signals of the impacts of the variability of the AAO can be observed in the position of the extratropical cyclones around 40°S, while the impacts on the intensity is detected around 55°S.


Cyclone Southern Hemisphere Antarctic Peninsula Storm Track Arctic Oscillation 
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.



The present work was supported by the POCTI program (Portuguese Office for Science and Technology), Grant BD/8482/2002 and FAPESP grant 07/50145-4, and Enio P. Souza and Jose A. Marengo were funded by the Brazilian Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico—CNPq. The authors would like to thank Dr. Isabel F. Trigo and Dr. Pedro A. Miranda for their helpful suggestions. We are also grateful for the helpful comments made by two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Mendes
    • 1
    • 3
  • Enio P. Souza
    • 2
  • José A. Marengo
    • 1
  • Monica C. D. Mendes
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Ciência do Sistema Terrestre/Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas EspaciaisCachoeira PaulistaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciências AtmosféricasUniversidade Federal de Campina GrandeParaíbaBrazil
  3. 3.Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos—CPTEC/INPECachoeira PaulistaBrazil

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