Sting jet signature associated with a high wind event in Scotland.
06 October 2023
02 January 2012
By Scott Bachmeier (CIMSS)
A rapidly intensifying mid-latitude cyclone was responsible for a high wind event as it moved over Scotland on 3 January 2012. Meteosat-9 WV7.3 images (below) revealed two notable signatures: (1) the formation of a pronounced area of warm/dry water vapor brightness temperatures (bright yellow to orange color enhancement) over the open water north of Ireland, which indicated a strongly forced region of rapidly descending middle-tropospheric air, and (2) a classic sting jet* signature (Monthly Weather Review and Wikipedia) which then moved eastward across Scotland.
Just to the south of the sting jet signature, a wind gust of 78 knots was recorded at Glasgow at 08:20 UTC, followed by a wind gust of 70 knots at Edinburgh at 08:50 UTC. There were additional reports of wind gusts in excess of 87 knots at non-METAR sites in Scotland. A comparison of 1km resolution NOAA-19 VIS0.6 channel and IR11.0 channel (animated source: CIMSS) images at 12:54 UTC showed the structure of the cyclone as it was centered over the North Sea between the British Isles and Norway.
Amendment (Theo Steenbergen, 16 January 2012)
In the strong westerly flow, a cold front rapidly moved across the North Sea, passing the Dutch coast in the afternoon of 3 January (see Met-9 HRV animation, 10:00–14:30 UTC). The front was accompanied with a squall line, visible in the radar image as a narrow band of intense rain. The coastguard ('Rijkswaterstaat') reported a so called meteotsunami at the coast at Ijmuiden, with a sea level change (rise and fall) of over 1.5 meters in 30 minutes.
*Definition of a sting jet from Browning (2004): "The most damaging extratropical cyclones go through an evolution that involves the formation of a bent-back front and cloud head separated from the main polar front cloud band by a dry slot. When the cyclone attains its minimum central pressure, the trailing tip of the cloud head bounding the bent-back front forms a hook which goes on to encircle a seclusion of warm air. The most damaging winds occur near the tip of this hook–the sting at the end of the tail."
Animation (02:30–09:45 UTC)
CIMSS Satellite Blog
NASA SPoRT GOES-R Proving Ground Activities
Conceptual model of stage III in Shapiro–Keyser-type cyclones featuring sting jets
(source: Oscar Martinez-Alvarado et al., Monthly Weather Review, 2010)
Met-9 Airmass RGB with surface winds (08:45 UTC, source: Joseph Sienkiewicz)
The yellow polygon highlights the region of highest wind impact.
Met-9 Airmass RGB with surface and ASCAT winds
(11:15 UTC, source: Joseph Sienkiewicz)
Wind gusts in the United Kingdom on the morning of 01/03/12.
(source: Tim Hewson, ECMWF)
Browning, K.A. (2004): The sting at the end of the tail: damaging winds associated with extratropical cyclones. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 130: 375-399.
Martinez-Alvarado, O. (2010): Sting Jets in Simulations of a Real Cyclone by Two Mesoscale Models. Monthly Weather Review, 138, 4054-4075. DOI: 10.1175/2010MWR3290.1