Developing a Climatology of the South's 'Other' Storm Season: ENSO Impacts on Winter Extratropical Cyclogenesis

By Curtis, Scott | Southeastern Geographer, November 2006 | Go to article overview

Developing a Climatology of the South's 'Other' Storm Season: ENSO Impacts on Winter Extratropical Cyclogenesis


Curtis, Scott, Southeastern Geographer


An investigation of extratropical storms in the southeastern U.S. and adjacent waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean over the winter half-year (November to April) from 1961 to 1998 reveals a March peak in observations. During El Nino events the peak in population shifts to February, and a large number of intense storms are observed. Also, during El Nino events there are three hot spots of equally favored extratropical cyclogenesis east of the Rockies--near the Oklahoma panhandle, the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and off the coast of North Carolina. During La Nina and Neutral winters, cyclogenesis primarily occurs in just the first geographical region. No significant trend in storm observations was found in the 38-yr record.

KEY WORDS: Extratropical storm, sea level pressure, cyclogenesis, ENSO

INTRODUCTION

One only need look at the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons to realize the dramatic impacts weather related disasters have on the southeastern U.S. (Bossak 2004; Weunsch, Ast, and Curtis 2004). Tropical storms and hurricanes made up 32% of the billion-dollar weather disasters in the U.S. from 1980 to 2004 (NCDC 2005). Not surprisingly, the climatology of Atlantic tropical storms has been studied extensively (e.g., Landsea 1993; Maloney and Hartmann 2000; Muller and Stone 2001; Elsner 2003; Kimball and Mulekar 2004). Furthermore, the NASA satellite, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM, Kummerow et al. 2000) has offered exciting new insights over the past eight years into the intensification of storms, like Hurricane Isabel in 2003, while they were well off-shore.

To a lesser extent, the southeastern U.S. is impacted by extratropical cyclones in winter. Extratropical storms can be severe along the eastern seaboard where they are sometimes referred to as nor'easters because of the prevailing wind direction (Northeast) on the western edge of the storm. The result can be snow, ice, or occasionally blizzard conditions with winds gusting to hurricane force. Since 1980, only one extratropical storm, a nor'easter referred to as the "Storm of the Century" or "March 1993 Superstorm," is listed as a billion-dollar weather disaster by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). This cyclone tracked from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico, where it began taking on tropical characteristics, and then up the East Coast (Kocin et al. 1995; Huo et al. 1995). The minimum sea level pressure dropped from 998.5 hPa to 968.3 hPa (a change of 30.2 hPa) in 24 hr, making it what is referred to as a "bomb cyclone," or a rapidly intensifying storm (Sanders and Gyakum 1980). Overall, $56 billion in damage and 270 deaths are attributed to the Storm of the Century (Lott 1993).

There is some debate as to whether storms like these will be more frequent in a potentially warmer future world. Zhang, Douglas, and Leatherman (2000) did not find long term trends in storm severity on the East Coast during the past century. However, the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Houghton 2001) stated that extratropical cyclone activity in the Northern Hemisphere has increased since the mid-twentieth century, but that more studies are needed.

In light of this call for research, recent advances have been made in constructing climatologies of extratropical storms and nor'easters (e.g., Hirsch, DeGaetano, and Colucci 2001; Bradbury, Keim, and Wake 2003), but much of this work has focused on the eastern and northeastern U.S. However, the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Stream (Whittaker and Horn 1981) can be thought of as a breeding ground for extratropical cyclones, which in turn affect the southeastern U.S. Davis, Dolan, and Demme (1993) found that the most dangerous nor'easters formed either over Florida or north of Cuba between October and April.

Businger, Knapp, and Watson (1990) compiled one of the first climatologies (1960-1983) of cyclones tracking across the Gulf of Mexico and their related precipitation totals. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Developing a Climatology of the South's 'Other' Storm Season: ENSO Impacts on Winter Extratropical Cyclogenesis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.