Acta Oceanologica Sinica

, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp 59–67 | Cite as

Characteristics of cyclone climatology and variability in the Southern Ocean

  • Lixin WeiEmail author
  • Ting Qin


A new climatology of cyclones in the Southern Ocean is generated by applying an automated cyclone detection and tracking algorithm (developed by Hodges at the Reading University) for an improved and relatively high-resolution European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts atmospheric reanalysis during 1979–2013. A validation shows that identified cyclone tracks are in good agreement with a available analyzed cyclone product. The climatological characteristics of the Southern Ocean cyclones are then analyzed, including track, number, density, intensity, deepening rate and explosive events. An analysis shows that the number of cyclones in the Southern Ocean has increased for 1979–2013, but only statistically significant in summer. Coincident with the circumpolar trough, a single high-density band of cyclones is observed in 55°–67°S, and cyclone density has generally increased in north of this band for 1979–2013, except summer. The intensity of up to 70% cyclones in the Southern Ocean is less than 980 hPa, and only a few cyclones with pressure less than 920 hPa are detected for 1979–2013. Further analysis shows that a high frequency of explosive cyclones is located in the band of 45°–55°S, and the Atlantic Ocean sector has much higher frequent occurrence of the explosive cyclones than that in the Pacific Ocean sector. Additionally, the relationship between cyclone activities in the Southern Ocean and the Southern Annular Mode is discussed.

Key words

Southern Ocean cyclones automated detection and tracking algorithm Southern Annular Mode 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akyildiz V. 1985. Systematic errors in the behaviour of cyclones in the ECMWF operational models. Tellus A, 37A(4): 297–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blackmon M L. 1976. A climatological spectral study of the 500 mb geopotential height of the Northern Hemisphere. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 33(8): 1607–1623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blender R, Fraedrich K, Lunkeit F. 1997. Identification of cyclonetrack regimes in the North Atlantic. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 123(539): 727–741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carleton A M. 1979. A synoptic climatology of satellite-observed extratropical cyclone activity for the Southern Hemisphere: winter. Archiv für Meteorologie, Geophysik und Bioklimatologie, Serie B, 27(4): 265–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fogt R L, Perlwitz J, Monaghan A J, et al. 2009. Historical SAM variability. Part II: Twentieth-century variability and trends from reconstructions, observations, and the IPCC AR4 models. Journal of Climate, 22(20): 5346–5365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Godfred-Spenning C R, Simmonds I. 1996. An analysis of antarctic sea-ice and extratropical cyclone associations. International Journal of Climatology, 16(12): 1315–1332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gong Daiyi, Wang Shaowu. 1999. Definition of antarctic oscillation index. Geophys Res Lett, 26(4): 459–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gulev S K, Zolina O, Grigoriev S. 2001. Extratropical cyclone variability in the Northern Hemisphere winter from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. Climate Dynamics, 17(10): 795–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hodges K I. 1994. A general method for tracking analysis and its application to meteorological data. Monthly Weather Review, 122(11): 2573–2586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hodges K I. 1996. Spherical nonparametric estimators applied to the UGAMP model integration for AMIP. Monthly Weather Review, 124(12): 2914–2932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hoskins B J, Hodges K I. 2005. A new perspective on Southern Hemisphere storm tracks. Journal of Climate, 18(20): 4108–4129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jones D A, Simmonds I. 1993. A climatology of Southern Hemisphere extratropical cyclones. Climate Dynamics, 9(3): 131–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Karpechko A Y, Gillett N P, Marshall G J, et al. 2009. Climate impacts of the Southern annular mode simulated by the CMIP3 models. Journal of Climate, 22(13): 3751–3768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kwok R, Comiso J C. 2002. Southern Ocean climate and sea ice anomalies associated with the Southern Oscillation. Journal of Climate, 15(5): 487–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mendes D, Souza E P, Marengo J A, et al. 2010. Climatology of extratropical cyclones over the South American-southern oceans sector. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 100(3-4): 239–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Murray R J, Simmonds I. 1991. A numerical scheme for tracking cyclone centres from digital data. Part I: Development and operation of the scheme. Australian Meteorological Magazine, 39(3): 156–166Google Scholar
  17. Nakamura H, Shimpo A. 2004. Seasonal variations in the Southern Hemisphere storm tracks and jet streams as revealed in a reanalysis dataset. Journal of Climate, 17(9): 1828–1844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pezza A B, Durrant T, Simmonds I, et al. 2008. Southern Hemisphere synoptic behavior in extreme phases of SAM, ENSO, sea ice extent, and southern Australia rainfall. Journal of Climate, 21(21): 5566–5584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pezza A B, Rashid H A, Simmonds I. 2012. Climate links and recent extremes in Antarctic sea ice, high-latitude cyclones, southern annular mode and ENSO. Climate Dynamics, 38(1–2): 57–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rao V B, do Carmo A M C, Franchito S H. 2002. Seasonal variations in the Southern Hemisphere storm tracks and associated wave propagation. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 59(6): 1029–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sanders F. 1986. Explosive cyclogenesis in the west-central North Atlantic Ocean, 1981–84. Part I: Composite structure and mean behavior. Monthly weather review, 114(10): 1781-1794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Serreze M C. 1995. Climatological aspects of cyclone development and decay in the arctic. Atmosphere-Ocean, 33(1): 1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sinclair M R. 1994. An objective cyclone climatology for the southern hemisphere. Monthly Weather Review, 122(10): 2239–2256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sinclair M R. 1997. Objective identification of cyclones and their circulation, intensity and climatology. Weather and Forecasting, 12(3): 595–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Streten N A, Troup A J. 1973. A synoptic climatology of satellite observed cloud vortices over the Southern Hemisphere. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 99(419): 56–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Taljaard J J. 1967. Development, distribution and movement of cyclones and anticyclones in the Southern Hemisphere during the IGY. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 6(6): 973–987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Taljaard J J, van Loon H. 1962. Cyclogenesis, cyclones and anticyclones in the Southern Hemisphere during the winter and spring of 1957. Notos, 11: 3–20Google Scholar
  28. Thompson D W J, Solomon S. 2002. Interpretation of recent Southern Hemisphere climate change. Science, 296(5569): 895–899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ulbrich U, Christoph M. 1999. A shift of the NAO and increasing storm track activity over Europe due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing. Climate Dynamics, 15(7): 551–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Uotila P, Vihma T, Pezza A B, et al. 2011. Relationships between antarctic cyclones and surface conditions as derived from highresolution numerical weather prediction data. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 116: D07109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wernli H, Schwierz C. 2006. Surface cyclones in the ERA-40 dataset (1958-2001): Part I.Novel identification method and global climatology. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 63(10): 2486–2507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Woollings T, Gregory J M, Pinto J G, et al. 2012. Response of the North Atlantic storm track to climate change shaped by ocean-atmosphere coupling. Nature Geoscience, 5(5): 313–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Xia Lan, Zahn M, Hodges K I, et al. 2012. A comparison of two identification and tracking methods for polar lows. Tellus A, 64: 17196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yoshida A, Asuma Y. 2004. Structures and environment of explosively developing extratropical cyclones in the northwestern Pacific region. Monthly Weather Review, 132(5): 1121–1142CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Research on Marine Hazards Forecasting, National Marine Environmental Forecasting CenterState Oceanic AdministrationBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations