Sting jet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A sting jet is a meteorological phenomenon which has been postulated to cause some of the most damaging winds in Extratropical cyclones, developing according to the Shapiro-Keyser model of oceanic cyclones.


Following reanalysis of the Great Storm of 1987, led by Professor Keith Browning at the University of Reading, researchers identified a mesoscale flow where the most damaging winds were shown to be emanating from the evaporating tip of the hooked cloud head on the southern flank of the cyclone. This cloud, hooked like a scorpion's tail, gives the wind region its name the "Sting Jet".[1]

It is thought that a zone of strong winds, originating from within the mid-tropospheric cloud head of an explosively deepening depression, are enhanced further as the "jet" descends, drying out and evaporating a clear path through snow and ice particles. The evaporative cooling leading to the air within the jet becoming denser, leading to an acceleration of the downward flow towards the tip of the cloud head when it begins to hook around the cyclone centre. Windspeeds in excess of 80 kn (150 km/h) can be associated with the Sting jet.[2]

It has since been reproduced in high-resolution runs with the mesoscale version of the Unified Model. The Sting jet is distinct from the usual strong-wind region associated with the warm conveyor belt and main cold front. There are indications that conditional symmetric instability also plays a role in its formation but the importance of these processes remains to be quantified.[3][4]

One North Atlantic storm, Cyclone Tilo (November 6–11, 2007) has also been analysed and found not to display a sting jet, despite displaying strong surface winds and a fractured cold front.[4]


The sting jet mechanism has been considered less significant in Pacific Northwest windstorms which occur over the Pacific Ocean (which impact the Northwestern United States and British Columbia).[5] Evidence of mesoscale high wind areas has not been noted in most large windstorms occurring there, along with cloud geometry associated with the phenomena being absent in satellite imagery of major Pacific Northwest storms.[5] High resolution computer models of the phenomena have also shown realistically strong winds without the need for sting jet dynamics.[5]

List of sting jet cyclones[edit]

Cyclone Type Date Reference Location
Great Storm of 1987 European windstorm October 15-17, 1987 [6][7][8] Southern England
Oratia European windstorm October 30, 2000 [8] unknown
Anna European windstorm February 26, 2002 [9] Central Pennines, England
Jeanette European windstorm October 27, 2002 [10][11] Wales and the English Midlands
Erwin European windstorm January 2005 [11][12][13][14] Northern England
Friedhelm European windstorm December 8, 2011 [15][16][17] Central Belt Scotland
Ulli European windstorm January 3–4, 2012 [18][19][20][21][22] Central Belt Scotland

List of proposed sting jets[edit]

Cyclone Type Date Reference Location
"Oeste storm" European windstorm December 23, 2009 [23] Portugal
October 2010 North American storm complex Great Lakes cyclone October 26–27, 2010 [18] Midwest USA
2011 Halloween nor'easter Nor'easter October 30–31, 2011 [18][24] Northeastern USA
Unnamed Extratropical cyclone March 12, 2012 [25] Upper Midwest USA
Gong European windstorm January 19, 2013 [23] Portugal
St Jude storm (Christian) European windstorm October 28, 2013 [26][27] Possibly developing over East Anglia then over the North Sea, skirting the Netherlands coast to Germany/Denmark.
Arthur Extratropical cyclone ex–Hurricane July 6, 2014? [28][29] Canadian Maritimes
Elon (Nathan) European windstorm January 9, 2015 [30][31] Scotland

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Browning, Keith; Peter Clark; Tim Hewson; Robert Muir-Wood (2003). "Damaging winds from European cyclones". The Royal Society. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Meteorological glossary, retrieved 2007-17-10
  3. ^ Cyclonic storms UWERN newsletter, retrieved 2007-17-10
  4. ^ a b Gray, S. L.; Martínez-Alvarado, O., Baker, L. H. and Clark, P. A. (2011). "Conditional symmetric instability in sting-jet storms". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 137: 1482–1500. Bibcode:2011QJRMS.137.1482G. doi:10.1002/qj.859. 
  5. ^ a b c Mass, Clifford; Dotson, Brigid (2010). "Major Extratropical Cyclones of the Northwest United States: Historical Review, Climatology, and Synoptic Environment". Monthly Weather Review 138 (7): 2499–2527. Bibcode:2010MWRv..138.2499M. doi:10.1175/2010MWR3213.1. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Browning, K. A. (2004). "The sting at the end of the tail: Damaging winds associated with extratropical cyclones". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 130 (597): 375–399. Bibcode:2004QJRMS.130..375B. doi:10.1256/qj.02.143. 
  7. ^ Clark, P. A.; Browning, K. A. and Wang, C. (2005). "The sting at the end of the tail: Model diagnostics of fine-scale three-dimensional structure of the cloud head". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 131 (610): 2263–2292. Bibcode:2005QJRMS.131.2263C. doi:10.1256/qj.04.36. 
  8. ^ a b "A sting in the tale of the Great Storm". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Martínez-Alvarado, Oscar; Florian Weidle; Suzanne L. Gray (2010). "Sting Jets in Simulations of a Real Cyclone by Two Mesoscale Models". Monthly Weather Review 138 (11): 4054–4075. Bibcode:2010MWRv..138.4054M. doi:10.1175/2010MWR3290.1. 
  10. ^ Parton, G. A.; Vaughan, G., Norton, E. G., Browning, K. A. and Clark, P. A. (2009). "Wind profiler observations of a sting jet". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 135 (640): 663–680. doi:10.1002/qj.398. 
  11. ^ a b Baker, Laura (2009). "Sting jets in severe northern European wind storms". Weather 64 (6): 143–148. Bibcode:2009Wthr...64..143B. doi:10.1002/wea.397. 
  12. ^ Knox et al. (2011). "Non-Convective High Winds Associated with Extratropical Cyclones" (PDF). Geography Compass 5/2. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "stingjets" (PDF). Geographical Association. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  14. ^ "Case analysis of Gudrun". Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Weather: A storm called Friedhelm". Meteogroup. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "Northern UK, Scotland Battered by Windstorm Friedhelm: AIR Analysis". AIR worldwide. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "Cyclone Friedhelm: a potential sting jet case". NCAS blog, Leeds University. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c "Non-Convective High Wind Events: Investigating the Influence of Stratospheric Intrusions on Non-Convective High Wind Events Using RGB Air Mass Product" (PDF) (Technical Report). Saint Louis University Center for Environmental Sciences. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Winter storm blasts the UK" (FLASH). BBC. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  20. ^ ""Sting Jet" signature associated with a high wind event in Scotland". Space Science and Engineering Center CIMSS Satellite Blog. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  21. ^ Grumm, Richard H. "Scottish Windstorm 3 January 2012" (PDF). National Weather Service-Pennsylvania State University Weather Events. National Weather Service-Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  22. ^ "Sting jet signature associated with a high wind event in Scotland (storm Ulli, 3 January 2012)". Eumetsat. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Miranda, Pedro (2014). "Dynamics of the Gong windstorm (Jan 2013) in the context of a 20-year high-resolution simulation of Iberian climate" (PDF). EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "NASA DEVELOP Summer 2012 Project Summary". Saint Louis University Center for Environmental Sciences. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "Possible Sting Jet in Upper Midwest". Space Science and Engineering Centre CIMSS Satellite Blog. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "Orkan Christian". Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  27. ^ Hammond, John (30 October 2013). "How 'Sting Jets' influence our weather". BBC Weather. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Tropical Cyclone Information Statement for Post-Tropical Cyclone Arthur". Canadian Hurricane Centre (Environment Canada). 6 June 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  29. ^ "Hurricane Arthur transitions to an extratropical cyclone". University of Wisconsin-Madison/ Space Science and Engineering Center CIMSS Satellite Blog. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "Metcheck Facebook page". Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  31. ^ "Storm Forecast". European Storm Forecast Experiment. Retrieved 9 January 2015.