An ensemble of 72 Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulations is evaluated to examine the relationship between the track of Hurricane Sandy (2012) and its structural evolution. Initial and boundary conditions are obtained from ECMWF and GEFS ensemble forecasts initialized at 0000 UTC 25 October. The 5-day WRF simulations are initialized at 0000 UTC 27 October, 48 h into the global model forecasts. Tracks and cyclone phase space (CPS) paths from the 72 simulations are partitioned into 6 clusters using regression mixture models; results from the 4 most populous track clusters are examined. The four analyzed clusters vary in mean landfall location from southern New Jersey to Maine. Extratropical transition timing is the clearest difference among clusters; more eastward clusters show later Sandy-midlatitude trough interaction, warm seclusion formation, and extratropical transition completion. However, the intercluster variability is much smaller when examined relative to the landfall time of each simulation. In each cluster, a short-lived warm seclusion forms and contracts through landfall while lower-tropospheric potential vorticity concentrates at small radii. Despite the large-scale similarity among the clusters, relevant intercluster differences in landfall-relative extratropical transition are observed. In the easternmost cluster the Sandy-trough interaction is least intense and the warm seclusion decays the most by landfall. In the second most eastward cluster Sandy retains the most intact warm seclusion at landfall because of a slightly later (relative to landfall) and weaker trough interaction compared to the two most westward clusters. Nevertheless, the remarkably similar large-scale evolution of Sandy among the four clusters indicates the high predictability of Sandy's warm seclusion extratropical transition before landfall.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science