Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
Research article
19 Apr 2024
Research article |  | 19 Apr 2024

Warm conveyor belt characteristics and impacts along the life cycle of extratropical cyclones: case studies and climatological analysis based on ERA5

Katharina Heitmann, Michael Sprenger, Hanin Binder, Heini Wernli, and Hanna Joos

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Cited articles

Bengtsson, L., Hodges, K. I., and Keenlyside, N.: Will extratropical storms intensify in a warmer climate?, J. Climate, 22, 2276–2301,, 2009. a
Besson, P., Fischer, L. J., Schemm, S., and Sprenger, M.: A global analysis of the dry-dynamic forcing during cyclone growth and propagation, Weather Clim. Dynam., 2, 991–1009,, 2021. a
Binder, H.: Warm conveyor belts: cloud structure and role for cyclone dynamics and extreme events, PhD Thesis, ETH Zurich, Zurich,, 2017. a
Binder, H., Boettcher, M., Joos, H., and Wernli, H.: The role of warm conveyor belts for the intensification of extratropical cyclones in Northern Hemisphere winter, J. Atmos. Sci., 73, 3997–4020,, 2016. a, b, c, d, e, f, g
Binder, H., Boettcher, M., Joos, H., Sprenger, M., and Wernli, H.: Vertical cloud structure of warm conveyor belts – a comparison and evaluation of ERA5 reanalysis, CloudSat and CALIPSO data, Weather Clim. Dynam., 1, 577–595,, 2020. a
Short summary
Warm conveyor belts (WCBs) are coherently ascending air streams that occur in extratropical cyclones where they form precipitation and often affect the large-scale flow. We quantified the key characteristics and impacts of WCBs and linked them to different phases in the cyclone life cycle and to different WCB branches. A climatology of these metrics revealed that WCBs are most intense during cyclone intensification and that the cyclonic and anticyclonic WCB branches show distinct differences.