University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006
A Critical Assesment of Occluded Fronts
Master's thesis, November 2006.
The aim of this work was the assessment about the structure and use of the conceptual model of occlusion in operational weather forecasting. In the beginning a survey has been made about the conceptual model of occlusion as introduced to operational forecasters in the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). In the same context an overview has been performed about the use of the conceptual model in modern operational weather forecasting, especially in connection with the widespread use of numerical forecasts. In order to evaluate the features of the occlusions in operational weather forecasting, all the occlusion processes occurring during year 2003 over Europe and Northern Atlantic area have been investigated using the conceptual model of occlusion and the methods suggested in the FMI. The investigation has yielded a classification of the occluded cyclones on the basis of the extent the conceptual model has fitted the description of the observed thermal structure. The seasonal and geographical distribution of the classes has been inspected. Some relevant cases belonging to different classes have been collected and analyzed in detail: in this deeper investigation tools and techniques, which are not routinely used in operational weather forecasting, have been adopted. Both the statistical investigation of the occluded cyclones during year 2003 and the case studies have revealed that the traditional classification of the types of the occlusion on the basis of the thermal structure doesn't take into account the bigger variety of occlusion structures which can be observed. Moreover the conceptual model of occlusion has turned out to be often inadequate in describing well developed cyclones. A deep and constructive revision of the conceptual model of occlusion is therefore suggested in light of the result obtained in this work. The revision should take into account both the progresses which are being made in building a theoretical footing for the occlusion process and the recent tools and meteorological quantities which are nowadays available.
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Last updated 05.12.2006