First of all, it is important for me to state that the tone of my first review was certainly not meant to be harsh. In fact, I took time and efforts and had tried to maintain a constructive note throughout (although, to me, the initial manuscript was a long, tedious read). It appears to me that my suggestions, which meant to be constructive, were misinterpreted as an attempt to impose my “personal viewpoint of how such a climatological study should have been performed”. Of course, the authors are free to perform their analyses to their liking and to focus on aspects that they consider to be the most relevant for the current study. My reviewer’s obligation, on the other hand, is to check the evidence that is provided by carefully understanding the authors method, description of figures, explanations and conclusions drawn. If I as a reviewer fail to do so too often, I feel obliged to provide (very) critical comments.
The tone of my initial review might have been very critical at times because I *was* very critical about the initially submitted version. I am not sure that I consider it helpful, though, to point out a critical tone of a critical review in an authors’ response. As a reviewer I can only evaluate the manuscript at hand, i.e., the information, explanations, motivations, interpretations provided in the manuscript. Lack of clarity in writing, omission of information, etc. may add up to the extent that the intentions of a study do no longer become sufficiently clear to a reader. From the authors’ response I gather that some of the main intentions of this study did not become clear to me, which has certainly led to much criticism from my side. I understand that the authors may thus have considered my first review to be overly critical. I would hope that the authors understand that my misinterpretations of their initial manuscript were at least partly due to lack of information and clarity and a suboptimal organization of the presentation of the material in the initial submission.
A word on “expectations”: I had used this term somewhat carelessly – or at least ambiguously – in my first review. I certainly did not mean to imply that the authors need to meet my expectations as in standards that would need to be met. I meant to use the term to refer to a tacit context that one may have in mind when reading a manuscript. That tacit context was formed for me by the name of the journal (including the term “dynamics”) and the title of the manuscript (“global climatology”). Without grasping the motivation of the authors, I had evidently a very hard time to fit a detailed and mostly descriptive discussion of very regional aspects into that tacit context. I agree that my wording to express this idea in the first review was poor.
Comments on the revised version
The manuscript has improved tremendously in all aspects. This reviewer finds it extremely helpful that there is now a clear distinction between the global aspects of the climatology (as heralded in the title) and regional aspects. In addition, there is now a clear motivation of why these regional aspects are of interest and why detailed descriptions are well justified. Furthermore, I find it extremely helpful that the classification of life-cycle types is now based on the global data and that there is more discussion of relevant previous work that puts the authors contribution into much better context than in the previous version of this manuscript. More, clearer, and better motivated links to other atmospheric phenomena, both in terms of the larger-scale circulation and potential impacts, further strengthen this study. Adjustments to the filtering of the data and some reference to statistical significance round off what is now a very well written quality manuscript.
Basically, the manuscript could be published as is. I have one remaining question, though, and addressing this question may somewhat alter one of the authors’ conclusion. I thus recommend accepting this manuscript for publication after minor revision. In addition, I have a few suggestions for the authors’ consideration that may help to provide full clarity and further improved readability for future readers.
Sect. 3.2: The authors compare diabatic decay with reabsorption. I would think that diabatic decay, i.e., diabatic PV erosion, is a gradual and relatively slow process whereas reabsorption is identified at the moment when the 2PVU contour merges and thus I would thus think that this is a very fast process. If my reading is correct, the authors evaluate the two processes instantaneously at the time at which a PV cutoff disappears. Then the relative importance/ frequencies of the two processes are compared. It seems to me, however, that the instantaneous evaluation of the gradual diabatic PV erosion does not do this process full justice, i.e., that the relative importance of processes is biased towards reabsorption. I understand that the 3D cutoff may gradually decay diabatically because the definition here is layer-wise on each isentrope. But does this layer-wise perspective fully take into account the gradual nature of diabatic erosion? My feeling is that a fairer comparison would integrate both processes over the lifetime of the cutoff. I believe that it would be helpful if the authors commented on this issue, in particular because their conclusion based on this result is rather different from synoptic experience (as noted by the authors).
Comments for further consideration
- Title: The authors may want to consider extending the title to point potential future readers also to the regional aspects, which form a substantive part of their study.
- l24: suggest adding „as defined above“ after “types” for full clarity.
- top of page 7: For full clarity: It would be helpful to explicitly define STT/TST as the PV change of an airparcel that crosses the threshold of 2 PVU because not every reader may be familiar with this. (I might have missed such a definition above in the manuscript.)
- Sect. 3.1: I fully agree with the authors that the in-depth discussion in this subsection is justified. For the reader’s convenience, the authors may want to consider introducing subsubsection for, e.g., frequencies, genesis/ lysis, and comparison with previous studies. The discussion at the end of this subsection now motivates very well the classification of life-cycle types presented below.
- l407: “During lysis of 3D PV cutoffs”: It would be helpful to clarify: Is this the instance at which the 3D cutoff completely disappears, e.g., the moment at which the cutoff disappears from the last remaining isentrope?
- l409ff: reabsorption occurring predominantly at higer levels: Just a thought for the authors’ consideration: What you describe here, is that consistent with the partial erosion of PV at the lower levels of the 3D cutoff and the final decay by reabsorption then being associated with the remaining parts of the cutoff at higher levels?
- l420: for full clarity: I suggest adding „of the 3D cutoff“ after “life cycle”.
- Sect. 3.3: denomination of life-cycle types: The authors may want to reconsider their life cycle names and consider introducing more telling acronyms, e.g., just for illustration, types POL, 2J, EQ. Not being familiar with the authors’ life-cycle terminology, I found myself switching back and forth while reading to remind myself what how types I, II, III are defined.
l581: “active cutoff tracks“. I am not sure I fully understand the meaning here. Consider revising.
l736ff: The discussion here reminds me on a third type of baroclinic life cycle that was noted in Shapiro et al.’s chapter in the book The Life Cycle of Extratropical Cyclones. The third author of this study was a co-author of that study so he can best evaluate if reference to that work is relevant here.