Quantifying Heavy Precipitation throughout the Entire Tropical Cyclone Life Cycle

Erica Bower, Kevin A. Reed, Paul A. Ullrich, Colin M. Zarzycki, Angeline G. Pendergrass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Tropical cyclones (TCs) and their associated precipitation can have devastating impacts on the areas af-fected, with outcomes ranging from mudslides to inland flash flooding. Previous studies have used a fixed radius around the TC to isolate storm-related precipitation. One previous study instead used a dynamic radius of 8 m s-1 winds, but the wind field of the TC can deteriorate or shift quickly after landfall or the onset of extratropical transition (ET). This study uses a dynamical radius derived from the 500-hPa geopotential height in and around the TC to define TC-and post-tropical cyclone (PTC)-related heavy precipitation, allowing for the analysis of precipitation with tropical origins after the official demise of the original TC. Climatologies are constructed, indicating a maximum in TC-and PTC-related heavy precipitation in the west North Pacific and a secondary maximum in the east North Pacific. PTC-related heavy precipitation ac-counts for as much as 40% of the annual heavy precipitation in the northwest portion of the west North Pacific basin and 3.13% of heavy precipitation globally. We observe that the major hurricane stage contributes on average 2.6% of the global TC-and PTC-related precipitation, while the less intense but more common tropical storm stages of the TC life cycle contribute 85.7% of this observed precipitation. This analysis framework can be further extended to assess model biases and climate projections of TC and PTC precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1645-1662
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying Heavy Precipitation throughout the Entire Tropical Cyclone Life Cycle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this