Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-20
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-20

  27 Apr 2021

27 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Interactive 3-D visual analysis of ERA 5 data: improving diagnostic indices for marine cold air outbreaks

Marcel Meyer1,3, Iuliia Polkova2,3, Kameswar Rao Modali1, Laura Schaffer2, Johanna Baehr2,3, Stephan Olbrich1,3, and Marc Rautenhaus1,3 Marcel Meyer et al.
  • 1Regional Computing Centre, Visual Data Analysis Group, Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Institute of Oceanography, Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. We inspect the 3-D structure of Marine Cold Air Outbreaks (MCAOs) and Polar Lows (PLs) in ERA5 data with the aim of improving diagnostic indices to capture these weather events in long-term assessments on seasonal and climatological time-scales. For this study, we designed a workflow that starts with the interactive 3-D visual exploration of single MCAO and PL events, using an extended version of the open-source visualization framework Met.3D, followed by the design and statistical testing of new diagnostic indices in long-term assessments. Results from the interactive visual data exploration provide insights into the complex 3-D shape and dynamics of MCAOs and PLs in ERA5 data. Motivated by the visual analysis of single cases, we extend widely-used diagnostics by conceptualizing a simple index to capture the vertical extent of the lower-level instability induced by MCAOs. Testing the association of diagnostic indices with observed PLs in the Barents and the Nordic Seas (STARS data) shows that, the new MCAO index introduced here has an important advantage: it is a more skillful indicator for distinguishing the times and locations of PLs, compared with previously-used indices. We thus propose the new index for further analyses in seasonal climate predictions and climatological studies. The methods for interactive 3-D visual data analysis presented here are available as a generic open-source tool for investigating atmospheric processes in ERA5 and other gridded meteorological data.

Marcel Meyer et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Marcel Meyer et al.

Model code and software

Met.3D Marc Rautenhaus, Kameswar Rao Modali, Marcel Meyer https://gitlab.com/wxmetvis/met.3d

Video supplement

Movie 5: Dynamics of the upper boundary of a MCAO and the dynamical tropopause (time of MCAO: March, 2011). Meyer, M., Polkova, I., Modali, K. R., Schaffer, L., Baehr, J., Olbrich, S., and Rautenhaus, M. https://doi.org/10.5446/52267

Movie 6: Dynamics of the upper boundary of a MCAO (time of MCAO: December, 2002). Meyer, M., Polkova, I., Modali, K. R., Schaffer, L., Baehr, J., Olbrich, S., and Rautenhaus, M. https://doi.org/10.5446/52268

Movie 4: Dynamics of the upper boundary of a MCAO (time of MCAO: March, 2011). Meyer, M., Polkova, I., Modali, K. R., Schaffer, L., Baehr, J., Olbrich, S., and Rautenhaus, M. https://doi.org/10.5446/52266

Movie 3: Interactive visual data analysis of the characteristic pressure level in the conventional MCAO index. Meyer, M., Polkova, I., Modali, K. R., Schaffer, L., Baehr, J., Olbrich, S., and Rautenhaus, M. https://doi.org/10.5446/52265

Movie 1: Interactive visual data analysis of a Marine Cold Air Outbreak in ERA5 data Meyer, M., Polkova, I., Modali, K. R., Schaffer, L., Baehr, J., Olbrich, S., and Rautenhaus, M. https://doi.org/10.5446/52263

Movie 2: Interactive visual data analysis of a Polar Low in ERA5 data. Meyer, M., Polkova, I., Modali, K. R., Schaffer, L., Baehr, J., Olbrich, S., and Rautenhaus, M. https://doi.org/10.5446/52264

Marcel Meyer et al.

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Short summary
Novel techniques from computer science are used to study extreme weather events. Inspired by the interactive 3-dimensional visual analysis of the most comprehensive climatological dataset available (ERA5), we improve commonly used metrics for measuring polar winter storms and outbreaks of cold air. The software (Met.3D) that we develop and apply is freely available and can be used generically for visual analysis of a broad variety of atmospheric processes in weather and climate data.