Summary of key features associated with a developing wave cyclone

  • Usually need to have a disturbance at the surface (area of lower pressure) normally along the polar front
  • Also need upper-level support - a short wave with associated upper-level low/trough must be situated such that the upper-level low is to the northwest of the surface low.
  • The shortwave generates warm and cold-air advection at mid-upper levels (referred to differential temperature advection)
  • The differential temperature advection generates sinking and rising motion
  • At jet-stream level, jet streaks in the base of a trough generate areas of convergence west of the trough, and divergence east of the trough.
  • Without upperlevel support, surface disturbances can not readily intensify
  • Here is an animation of a mid-latitude cyclone that exhibits many of the features previously discussed, try to identify them