Sensitivity of Feature-Based Analysis Methods of Storm Tracks to the Form of Background Field Removal

Anderson, David; Hodges, Kevin I.; Hoskins, Brian J.
March 2003
Monthly Weather Review;Mar2003, Vol. 131 Issue 3, p565
Academic Journal
For the tracking of extrema associated with weather systems to be applied to a broad range of fields it is necessary to remove a background field that represents the slowly varying, large spatial scales. The sensitivity of the tracking analysis to the form of background field removed is explored for the Northern Hemisphere winter storm tracks for three contrasting fields from an integration of the U.K. Met Office's (UKMO) Hadley Centre Climate Model (HadAM3). Several methods are explored for the removal of a background field from the simple subtraction of the climatology, to the more sophisticated removal of the planetary scales. Two temporal filters are also considered in the form of a 2–6-day Lanczos filter and a 20-day high-pass Fourier filter. The analysis indicates that the simple subtraction of the climatology tends to change the nature of the systems to the extent that there is a redistribution of the systems relative to the climatological background resulting in very similar statistical distributions for both positive and negative anomalies. The optimal planetary wave filter removes total wavenumbers less than or equal to a number in the range 5–7, resulting in distributions more easily related to particular types of weather system. For the temporal filters the 2–6-day bandpass filter is found to have a detrimental impact on the individual weather systems, resulting in the storm tracks having a weak waveguide type of behavior. The 20-day high-pass temporal filter is less aggressive than the 2–6-day filter and produces results falling between those of the climatological and 2–6-day filters.


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