Global Storm Tracks, Climatology, and Variability using a Decade of Satellite Observations

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Thursday, 8 January 2015: 9:00 AM
127ABC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Rebekah Esmaili, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD; and Y. Tian and D. A. Vila

Following the Lagrangian trajectories of storms produces a comprehensive view of rainfall development and activity. Tracking individual events is methodologically advantageous because total precipitation is influenced by storm frequency, duration, and characteristics. Many of the past studies focused on tracking and characterization of regional deep-convection; our study seeks to extend past work to global phenomena using a decade of satellite data. We will examine a variety of meteorological events from deep convection to frontal systems, which are driven by dissimilar dynamics, size scales, and rainfall regimes. Now that over a decade of satellite data are available, we develop a global climatology of storms, examine their variability, and study their properties.

Our group utilized ForTraCC (Vila et al., 2008), a cloud area-overlap tracking algorithm. This technique was applied to 11 years of the half hourly NCEP/CPC 4km IR dataset (Janowiak et al., 2001). Using the resulting database of storm tracks, we will discuss the (1) global trajectories, (2) size and scale properties, and (3) the climatology and variability of storms. Early results show that certain regions are favorable for storm formation and dissipation. Additionally, we observe the influence of El Nino and La Nina on storm tracks and properties. These results can be used to develop a baseline climatological state, evaluate weather models, and examine extreme events.