European network for Mediterranean cyclones in weather and climate


3T: Tracks Task Team (cross-WGs)


Cyclone tracks are the most fundamental tool we use across WGs in the action. However, all cyclone tracking methods have limitations which are outcomes of the diagnostics used to identify cyclone centres in gridded datasets and track them in time. As a result, it is not uncommon for cyclone tracking methods to identify and track cyclonic circulations that do not correspond to cyclones (regarded as organised wind vortices) or successfully capture only part of actual cyclone tracks (segments).


Emmanouil Flaounas is leading the tracks task team (3T) of MEDcyclones. The purpose of 3T is to develop a new diagnostic tool that combines different cyclone tracking methods (7-9 up to now) in order to produce a common cyclone tracks dataset. This dataset is composed only by composite cyclone tracks that concentrate the agreement of different cyclone tracking methods. Therefore, the final product of 3T concerns the “best” outcome of combined cyclone tracking tools.

Collaborative approach

Participants apply their own tracking algorithm to the same dataset (ERA5) at two different grid spacings (0.25° and 0.5°) and four output frequencies (hourly, 2, 3, 6 h). 

The figure illustrates an example that shows all tracks (gray lines) from all methods that captured a cyclone within the two-day period of 25-26 of September 2006. The new diagnostic tool combined all tracks and eventually produced the coloured one that refers to the track of the medicane of September 2006.

More on 3T cross WGs initiative on cyclone tracking

For more information and how to contribute, please contact Emmanouil Flaounas.