Site:   Email: Year 1 # 2 – July 2005

Phenomenon Catarina in Debate

This document announcement is a summary of the Workshop on the Phenomenon Catarina, organized by the SBMET - Brazilian Society of Meteorology, with the support of the INPE - National Institute of Space Research and CPTEC – Weather Forecast and Climatic Study Center, held in Sao Jose dos Campos, on 28 and 29 June 2005.

The main objective of the event was to discuss the dynamic and synoptic characteristics of the life cycle of cyclone Catarina, and to compare it with other types of intense cyclones observed in other parts of the globe.

Comitte :
Manoel Alonso Gan (CPTEC/INPE) – Comitte President
Hugo José Braga - EPAGRI-CIRAM
Marcos Massari - SOMAR
Maria Gertrudes Alvarez Justi da Silva - SBMET President
Nelson Jesus Ferreira - CPTEC/INPE
Pedro Leite da Silva Dias - IAG/USP

The SBMET would like to thank the sponsors, who made this event possible.

Confirmed: the cyclone Catarina was considered a hurricane in its final phase

During the classification debate, it was concluded that Catarina formed as a cyclone in the subtropical latitudes of the South Atlantic and when it moved towards the continent, the cyclone Catarina acquired the characteristics of a hurricane.
The final workshop recommendation is: if other cyclones of such intensity affect the Brazilian coast in future, they will have to be called hurricanes in order to distinguish them from less severe cyclonic storms..

Catarina affected the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul between 27 and 28 March 2004, producing intense winds, up to 180 km/h . About 1500 houses were destroyed and more than 40,000 damaged, at a cost of more than U$ 350 million. Three people died and seven others are still missing.

The Catarina cyclone formed over the South Atlantic inside an occluded extratropical cyclone, which was associated with a cold front that had passed over the country. When Catarina moved westward, towards South America , it acquired the characteristics of a hurricane - a phenomenon that has both intense rain and strong winds, and forms an eye in its center .

The researchers believe that the occurrence of Catarina can be associated with climatic changes and atmospheric anomalies, as was experienced on this occasion. The 2003/04 southern hemisphere summer was colder than the normal in the South and Southeastern regions of Brazil. And the sea surface temperature was higher, around 26ºC on the coast of South Brazil, one of the most important conditions for producing hurricanes in the northern hemisphere. There is a possibility, albeit remote, that another Catarina could occur.

In the opening section, the coordinator of the CPTEC-INPE Maria Faus Assunção da Silva Dias outlined the importance of the phenomenon Catarina for Meteorology and the Society. (Lecture I, Lecture II , Lecture III, Lecture IV, Lecture V - zip)

After that, Reinaldo Hass (zip) - UFSC recounted his experience of reaching the ‘eye' of Catarina.

Two other lectures described the synoptic conditions associated with the development of Catarina: Wallace Menezes (zip) - UFRJ; Augusto Pereira (zip) - IAG/USP..

The comparison of Catarina with tropical cyclones was carried out by Jack Beven (zip) from the National Hurricane Center of the United States - Miami, Florida.

Greg Holland (zip) from the National Center of Atmospheric Research - Boulder, Colorado, presented work on intense hybrid cyclones, very common on the east coast of Australia.

A comparative study with Catarina, polar lows and Mediterranean cyclones was displayed by Manoel Gan (zip) - INPE-CPTEC.

Catarina was a consequence of "climatic and atmospheric anomalies"

Uncertainties in the numerical forecast of Catarina and the observed planetary scale anomalies, during the event were investigated by Pedro Leite da Silva Dias (Lecture I and Lecture II) - IAG/USP and Jose Paulo Bonattii (zip) - INPE/CPTEC.

The effect of the climatic changes on the frequency of occurrence of extreme phenomena was presented by Jose Marengo (zip) - INPE/CPTEC.

In the first round table discussion, the approach of other countries in forecasting intense cyclones was presented: Jack Beven and Greg. Holland. (zip).

In another discussion, the Brazilian experience of forecasting Catarina was presented by:Giovanni Dolif (zip) - INPE/CPTEC; Hugo Jose Braga - EPAGRI/CIRAM, Cesar Duquia - SIMEPAR, Alberto Pedrassani Costa Neves (zip) - SMM, Márcio Custódio (zip) - SOMAR and Expedito Rebello (zip) - INMET.

Brazil must be better prepared to anticipate
severe storms

Various recommendations were proposed, the main ones summarised by the SBMET President were:

To create a response center for severe storms, a group of specialists within Brazil
. . who can respond at the appropriate time;
To invest in training in severe weather, also meteorologists trained to deal with the
. . media.

SBMET address: Rua México, 41 - Sala 1304 - Centro - CEP 20.031-144 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ

   copyright (c) 2005. SBMET