Unusual Tropical Cyclone Tracks under the Influence of Upper-Tropospheric Cold Low

Han Li, Ziyu Yan, Melinda Peng, Xuyang Ge, Zhuo Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tropical cyclones (TCs) accompanied by an upper-tropospheric cold low (CL) can experience unusual tracks. Idealized simulations resembling observed scenarios are designed in this study to investigate the impacts of a CL on TC tracks. The sensitivity of the TC motion to its location relative to the CL is examined. The results show that a TC follows a counterclockwise semicircle track if initially located east of a CL, while a TC experiences a small southwardlooping track, followed by a sudden northward turn if initially located west of a CL. A TC on the west side experiences opposing CL and b steering, while they act in the same direction when a TC is on the east side of CL. The steering flow analyses show that the steering vector is dominated by upper-level flow induced by the CL at an early stage. The influence of CL extends downward and contributes to the lower-tropospheric asymmetric flow pattern of TC. As these two systems approach, the TC divergent outflow erodes the CL. The CL circulation is deformed and eventually merged with the TC when they are close. Since the erosion of CL, the TC motion is primarily related to b gyres at a later stage. The sensitivity of TC motion to the CL depth is also examined. TCs located west of a CL experience a westward track if the CL is shallow. In contrast, TCs initially located east of a CL all take a smooth track irrespective of the CL depth, and the CL depth mainly influences the track curvature and the TC translation speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-58
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Cutoff lows
  • Storm tracks
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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