Cyclonic storms near the South Pole?

  • Hi everyone,

    I always see cyclonic storms (hurricane-like) in the oceans near the South Pole when I look at Windy. These low pressure zones are also present sometimes near the North Pole, but they are much rarer there, because there is less ocean there and more land. My question is: are there cyclones actually present or is it just a bug/mistake by the weather models that can't accurate model those areas for some reason? Because if it is real, I wonder why nobody ever talks about it. Is there a service that registers or keeps track of these polar cyclones? According to the ECMWF model on Windy there are currently 5 polar cyclones with clear cyclone eyes. The same low pressure areas can be seen using the GFS model. Here's some current data of these cyclones according to ECMWF:

    *Cyclone 1: min. pressure 944 hPa, wind gusts up to 130 km/h
    *Cyclone 2: min. pressure 957 hPa, wind gusts up to 100 km/h
    *Cyclone 3: min. pressure 944 hPa, wind gusts up to 115 km/h
    *Cyclone 4: min. pressure 973 hPa, wind gusts up to 58 km/h
    *Cyclone 5: min. pressure 949 hPa, wind gusts up to 120 km/h

    0_1537213480591_ec 2.jpg

  • Sailor Moderator


    You said :
    « Because if it is real, I wonder why nobody ever talks about it »

    Nobody talks about these storms because almost nobody is living in these latitudes. And there is almost no navigation during this season in this region.
    You know that these storms are more frequent and stronger during the austral winter. It’s not a bug from weather models !
    There are some famous sail races around the globe which cross these regions, but only during the austral summer. Same for the ships which bring supplies to research stations in Antarctica. Even in the good season the roaring forties and the furious fifties are very tough for sailors.

    The Bureau of Meteorology of Australia (BOM) provide analysis and forecast for these regions.

    The structure of these extratropical cyclones is different from the tropical cyclones. No, they don’t have « a clear eye », just less wind in the center, along with other differences (core temperature, fronts system, dynamics linked to the jet stream...)

  • Moderator

    I lived in New Zealand for one year and I can tell you they know about those storms... Winds up to 120 km/h is common in new-zealand and the local met office often issues storm watches and advisories. The term "cyclone" alone or "hurricane" or "typhoon" is not to be used there because they are front related storms, like the winter storms in Europe (but turning clockwise in the southern hemisphere). When a warm air mass from the tropics and a cold air from the pole start to swirl, an extra tropical storm or extra tropical cyclone is born. Hurricanes, typhoons or (tropical) cyclone (all the same thing) are formed within the same tropical air mass and are not front related.

    cold and warm fronts around the south pole generating storms

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