A global climatology of extratropical transition. Part I: Characteristics across basins

Melanie Bieli, Suzana J. Camargo, Adam H. Sobel, Jenni L. Evans, Timothy Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The authors present a global climatology of tropical cyclones (TCs) that undergo extratropical transition (ET). ET is objectively defined based on a TC's trajectory through the cyclone phase space (CPS), which is calculated using storm tracks from 1979-2017 best track data and geopotential height fields from reanalysis datasets. Two reanalyses are used and compared for this purpose, the Japanese 55-yr Reanalysis and the ECMWF interim reanalysis. The results are used to study the seasonal and geographical distributions of storms undergoing ET and interbasin differences in the statistics of ET occurrence. About 50% of all TCs in the North Atlantic and the western North Pacific undergo ET. In the Southern Hemisphere, ET fractions range from about 20% in the south Indian Ocean and the Australian region to 45% in the South Pacific. In the majority of ETs, TCs become thermally asymmetric before forming a cold core. However, a substantial fraction of TCs take the reverse pathway, developing a cold core before becoming thermally asymmetric. This pathway is most common in the eastern North Pacific and the North Atlantic. Different ET pathways can be linked to different geographical trajectories and environmental settings. In ETs over warmer sea surface temperatures, TCs tend to lose their thermal symmetry while still maintaining a warm core. Landfalls by TCs undergoing ET occur 3-4 times per year in the North Atlantic and 7-10 times per year in the western North Pacific, while coastal regions in the Australian region are affected once every 1-2 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3557-3582
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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