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Stewart, M. L. (2007). Cyclogenesis and Tropical Transition in Frontal Zones. Master's thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.
Abstract: Tropical cyclones can form from many different precursors, including baroclinic systems. The process of an extratropical system evolving into a warm core tropical cyclone is defined by Davis and Bosart (2004) as a Tropical Transition (TT) with further classification of systems into Weak Extratropical Cylclones (WEC) and Strong Extratropical Cyclones (SEC). It is difficult to predict which systems will make the transition and which will not, but the description of a common type of TT occurring along a front will aid forecasters in identifying systems that might undergo TT. A wind speed and SST relationship thought to be necessary for this type of transition is discussed. QuikSCAT and other satellite data are used to locate TT cases forming along fronts and track their transformation into tropical systems. Frontal TT is identified as a subset of SEC TT and the evolution from a frontal wave to a tropical system is described in five stages. A frontal wave with stronger northerly wind and weaker southerly wind is the first stage in the frontal cyclogenesis. As the extratropical cyclogenesis continues in the next two stages, bent back warm front stage and instant occlusion stage, the warmer air of the bent back front becomes surrounded by cooler air . Next, in the subtropical stage the latent heat release energy from the ocean surface begins ascent and forms a shallow warm core. As the energy from surface heat fluxes translates to convection within the system, the warm core extends further into the upper levels of the atmosphere in the final, tropical stage of TT. Model data from MM5 simulations of three storms, Noel (2001), Peter (2003) and Gaston (2004) are analyzed to illustrate the five stages of frontal TT. Noel is found to have the most baroclinic origin of the three and Gaston the least.