“There is nothing called ‘bad or rough weather! It is just ‘weather.’ Cyclones, earthquakes, rainfall, etc., are normal processes of nature. Ironically, if they occur, we call them ‘bad’!” as stressed by Bangladesh writer and researcher, Md. Ziaul Haque.

Mid-latitude cyclones usually refer to the Cyclones that critically happen across the middle latitude of the earth.

Despite occupying its space during the fall and spring, it can instead occur during the winter season. The mid-latitude Cyclone is considered one of the devastating natural phenomena, which seems to be very few in summer.

The average size of the 2 to 5-day storm cyclone ranges between 1000-2500 km in diameter, and the winds expand up to 125 km per hour.

Mid-latitude cyclones develop on the polar front when a disturbance leads to a significant temperature difference between two air masses. There is external pressure in the center of the mid-latitude Cyclone with high precipitation.

From the environmental point of view, the storm associated with the mid-latitude Cyclone has a critical contribution to the hydrological cycle and global energy balance, especially in the mid-latitude region in the atmosphere.

Multiple forecasting experiments, evolutionary history, climatic modes, and future projections on the mid-latitude Cyclone have been approached.

The study regarding the Cyclone is vital in grabbing the information regarding the ongoing impacts, possible outgoing solutions, and its cycle within the natural processes.

Several locations have been identified where the mid-latitude Cyclone is very prone, which entails the Gulf of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains on the eastern side, and off the east coast.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global organization working in climate change, the AR5, and the special report on Extremes have revealed that in the present context, there is a considerable alteration in the mid-latitude Cyclone along with the pattern of the precipitation and the winds induced by the storms from the Cyclone.

Factors influencing the mid-latitude cyclone

Mid-latitude Cyclone explained. Copyright: nuevomejicano

Multiple factors are affecting the mid-latitude cyclonic mechanism. Below listed are the critical factors which create an imbalance in the Cyclone’s phenomena.

  • Atmospheric instability
  • Life cycle and structures of mid-latitude cyclones
  • Precipitation
  • Temperature
  • High humidity
  • Low vertical wind shear

Models applied for the future projections

Numerous models have been developed so far to track out how the mid-latitude Cyclone occurs and what its processes are to occur basically in the spring and the fall. The models targeted for the mid-latitude cyclone study are the inclusion of:

1. Global Climatic Model (GCM)  

It is one of the standard models generally applied to determine the future changes in the climatic and meteorological phenomena throughout the globe.

This model is crucial in simulating sand, acquiring information on how the mid-latitude Cyclone might change in the future and how the pattern of the winds and the precipitation responds.

The Global Climatic Model has simulated the cyclone storm tracking in the Atlantic, Southern, Pacific, and Mediterranean oceans.

2. Regional Climatic Model (RCM)

The regional Climatic Model has been used widely to track future projections and know how the mid-latitude Cyclone triggers at the regional level.

This model has been of enormous application where we prefer to understand the impacts of the atmospheric circulation changes.

It has often been very comfortable for scientists and climate researchers to know the regional effects of the mid-latitude cyclonic phenomena.

3. A cloud-resolving weather forecasting model

Human nature is curious about how the models are used in future projections. This model can be highly applied to forecast the weather and know the possibility of mid-latitude cyclonic effects to commence the preventive approach such as the previous alert system to reduce the devastating impacts of the mid-latitude Cyclone.

Impacts of mid-latitude cyclones

Cyclones can trigger disasters, including the lives of people and property. Following impacts as a cause of mid-latitude Cyclone are listed below:

1. Inland flooding

flood - Mid-latitude cyclone
Impact of IDAI cyclone 2019 on Mozambican Province (source)

Several future projections applying the climatic models have depicted that cyclone-induced storms can cause inland flooding, thereby affecting the comprehensive parts of the eastern USA and Europe, targeting the western regions.

Did you know it is projected further that such a type of Cyclone is about to increase by 20-35 % occupying the northeastern US by 2100?

It signifies how the mid-latitude Cyclone can be a dangerous phenomenon for all of us, including all living beings. The torrential rainfall resulting from the Cyclone can cause extensive flooding and cover the whole range of human habitats.

However, one could argue that it can wash away all the pesticides and fertilizers used by the farmers in their fields. Such activity can lose agricultural production and may result in food scarcity.

2. Wave damage

A cyclone extends damage on the waves basically on the beach, eroding. The high onshore winds can drive sea-level rise to large meters, reaching unusual heights.

3. Squall lining

Since squall lining is a line of thunderstorms on cold fronts, it can have detrimental effects creating an unstable atmospheric environment, producing heavy precipitation, high-speed winds, hail, waterspouts, and tornadoes.

It affects the human settlements near the coastal areas causing significant property damage and human lives.

Numerical research has insisted that the study regarding the squall lining effects associated with the mid-latitude Cyclone needs to be expanded in mountains and lakes. It has been of less attention in the present context.

4. Coastal flooding

Coastal flooding resulting from mid-latitude cyclones is considered hazardous and critical in terms of the degree of danger.

Since the wind of the mid-latitude Cyclone seems very weak rather than the hurricanes, it has the natural power of increasing at spatial scales and further covers the massive tide cycles.

It has even been revealed that in 100 years, floods in New York City can occur once, which is expected to occur between every 8-59 years by 2080s as projected from the various climatic models.

The coastal flooding has severe impacts on the coastal companies, including the oil well and the shipyards causing colossal devastation.

5. Canopy disturbance

canopy- Mid-latitude cyclone
Canopy openness before and after Rona cyclone in the lowland rain forest of Australia (source)

People might think of how the mid-latitude Cyclone impacts the canopy coverage. Cyclones trigger several effects regarding the canopy in the forest ecosystem.

It exfoliates the canopy cover of the large trees, breaks out the tree crown stems. Not only at the regional level, but it also creates severe impacts on the landscape level.

It can cause a loss of foliage on the forest edge, breakage of the tree branches with falling of the leaf litter heavily.

Since the biodiversity of the forest ecosystem does balance in nature, the mid-latitude Cyclone, once devastating, does hamper nutrient cycling and wading away from the scenic beauty of the natural and the artificial forest.

Conclusion

The mid-latitude Cyclone has triggered a severe impact at various levels. Several models and the methods targeted for the mid-latitude Cyclone research for the future projection have assisted hugely in acquiring information regarding their mechanisms, processes, and natural phenomena.

A question awakes will we reduce the effects of the mid-latitude Cyclone in the future? Indeed, there should be complete potential research on the mid-latitude Cyclone.

After applying several models, scientific experiments, and climatic formulas, one can carry many steps to minimize the potential hazards resulting from the mid-latitude Cyclone after knowing its possible occurrence.

Although it seems highly challenging to control the natural mechanism of the mid-latitude Cyclone until and unless there is proper plan-oriented action, we would not be able to halt the severe effects of the Cyclone.

Therefore, it becomes very significant to research the mid-latitude Cyclone, made known to the public through effective research development on the subject matter.

It can, without a doubt, quantify and ensure the proper management system considering various sectors once the mid-latitude Cyclone happens.  

(Last Updated on December 3, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Kalpana Ghimire holds a post-graduate degree in Environmental Science from Nepal. She possesses numerous research experiences working in water pollution, community forestry, environment conservation status, and wildlife ecology. She was an internee in the Department of Environment (EIA monitoring and auditing section) under the Government of Nepal. Kalpana Ghimire is an avid traveler, an enthusiastic wildlife researcher, and has a huge passion for working in the environment sector. She loves far traveling to the natural areas, conducting field wildlife research and reading the novels.