To better understand the comparative contributions of processes occurring aloft and near the surface, the ascent-based storm track is partitioned into an upper (700-300 hPa) and lower (1000-700 hPa) layer. Results show that lower tropospheric baroclinicity contributes strongly to the storm track proximal to the Kuroshio and Gulf Stream, while lee cyclogenesis is an important factor downstream of both the Himalaya and Rocky Mountains. Aloft, the storm track is more continuous and shifted north from that at the surface. While small-scale orographic features are filtered from the data, the impact of large-scale orography on the distribution of storms is apparent. Preliminary results exploring the relation of synoptic-scale ascent and the distribution of precipitation on both global and regional scales are also presented.