Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology (JCMM)


Conceptual models of cyclogenesis

by Adrian T Semple

Extensive studies of extra-tropical cyclones over the past sixty years have led to a plethora of conceptual models that describe the structure and evolution of storms.  These conceptual (or structural) models blend observational, experimental and mathematical studies so as to represent the physical phenomena within a simple, yet flexible framework.  The first three sections of this report review these conceptual models by stepping through the evolution of a mid-latitude cyclone and aim to illustrate how, at each stage, conceptual models give a description of the physical processes occurring within the system.  The fourth section reviews a recent cyclone classification scheme in the context of these conceptual models, and attempts to group the cyclone classes into those arising through similar mechanisms.  Conceptual models are then combined with this classification scheme so as to offer a unified perspective of cyclogenesis out of which a cyclone continuum develops.

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