eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
Earth Science cover
Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences
ISSN 1736-7557 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-4728 (Print)
Impact Factor (2021): 0.811
Thunderstorms caused by southern cyclones in Estonia; pp. 108–117
PDF | doi: 10.3176/earth.2014.10

Kaupo Mändla, Sven-Erik Enno, Mait Sepp

The relationships between the frequency and duration of thunderstorms, lightning and southern cyclones over Estonia are presented for the period 1950–2010. A total of 545 southern cyclones and 2106 thunderstorm days were detected, whereas 11.3% of the observed thunder days were associated with southern cyclones. At the same time, 29.2% of all southern cyclones were accompanied by thunderstorms. In the thunder season, however, this percentage was much higher, reaching up to 80% in summer months. The number of thunder days was largest when the centres of southern cyclones passed a measuring station at a distance less than 500 km. The number of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes related to southern cyclones was larger than that of any other thunder events. The results of our study demonstrate that the intensity of thunderstorms related to southern cyclones is higher than that of other thunderstorms. Correlation analysis revealed statistically significant relationships between the frequency of thunder days related to southern cyclones and the frequency of southern cyclones, also between the frequency of thunder days related to southern cyclones and days of other thunder events.


Apostol, L. 2008. The Mediterranean cyclones – the role in ensuring water resources and their potential of climatic risk, in the east of Romania. Present Environment and Sustainable Development, 2, 143–163.

Bielec-Bakowska, Z. 2003. Long-term variability of thunderstorm occurrence in Poland in the 20th century. Atmospheric Research, 67–68, 35–52.

Bocheva, L., Georgiev, C. G. & Simeonov, P. 2007. A climatic study of severe storms over Bulgaria produced by Medi­ter­ranean cyclones in 1990−2001 period. Atmospheric Research, 83, 284–293.

Bukantis, A. & Bartkeviciene, G. 2005. Thermal effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation on the cold period of the year in Lithuania. Climate Research, 28, 221–228.

Dotzek, N., Groenemeijer, P., Feuerstein, B. & Holzer, A. M. 2009. Overview of ESSL’s severe convective storms research using the European Severe Weather Database ESWD. Atmospheric Research, 93, 575–586.

Enno, S. E. 2011. A climatology of cloud-to-ground lightning over Estonia, 2005–2009. Atmospheric Research, 100, 310–317.

Enno, S. E., Briede, A. & Valiukas, D. 2013. Climatology of thunderstorms in the Baltic countries, 1951–2000. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 111, 309–325.

Grigoriev, S., Gulev, S. K. & Zolina, O. 2000. Innovative soft­ware facilitates cyclone tracking and analysis. EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 81, 170.

Gulev, S. K., Zolina, O. & Grigoriev, S. 2001. Extratropical cyclone variability in the Northern Hemisphere winter from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. Climate Dynamics, 1, 795–809.

Horvath, K., Lin, Y.-L. & Ivancan-Picek, B. 2008. Classifi­cation of cyclone tracks over the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea. Monthly Weather Review, 136, 2210–2227.

Jaagus, J. 2006. Climatic changes in Estonia during the second half of the 20th century in relationship with changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 83, 77–88.

Jaagus, J., Briede, A., Rimkus, E. & Remm, K. 2010. Pre­cipitation pattern in the Baltic countries under the influence of large-scale atmospheric circulation and local landscape factors. International Journal of Climatology, 30, 705–720.

Kallis, A. (ed.). 2012. Eesti ilma riskid [Risks of Estonian Weather]. Eesti Meteoroloogia ja Hüdroloogia Instituut, Tallinn, 152 pp. [in Estonian].

Kalnay, E., Kanamitsu, M., Kistler, R., Collins, W., Deaven, D., Gandin, L., Iredell, M., Saha, S., White, G., Woollen, J., Zhu, Y., Leetmaa, A., Reynolds, R., Chelliah, M., Ebisuzaki, W., Higgins, W., Janowiak, J., Mo, K. C., Ropelewski, C., Wang, J., Jenne, R. &, Joseph, D. 1996. The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 77, 437–472.<0437:TNYRP>2.0.CO;2

Kamenik, J. 2008. Veel kord Irmelast ehk lõunatsüklonid ja 23. novembri lumetorm [Again About Irmela, Southern Cyclones and Snowstorm of the 23rd of November] [in Estonian; available at; accessed 4 May 2014].

Kannes, V., Nei, I. & Raik, A. 1957. Lõunatsüklonite mõjust Eesti ilmastikule [On the influence of southern cyclones on weather conditions in Estonia]. Yearbook of the Estonian Geographical Society, 1, 149–167 [in Estonian].

Kaznacheeva, V. D. & Shuvalov, S. V. 2012. Climatic charac­teristics of southern cyclones. Russian Meteorology and Hydrology, 37, 315–323.

Kendall, M. G. 1975. Rank Correlation Methods, 4th ed. Charles Griffin, London, 202 pp.

Kolendowicz, L. 1998. Zjawiska burzowe w Polsce a warunki synoptyczne [Thunderstorm Occurrence and Synoptic Conditions in Poland]. Bogucki Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Poznań [in Polish].

Kolendowicz, L. 2006. The influence of synoptic situations on the occurrence of days with thunderstorms during a year in the territory of Poland. International Journal of Climatology, 26, 1803–1820.

Kolendowicz, L. 2012. Heavy thunderstorms on the Polish–German lowlands in the period 1951–2008 and their circulation conditions. Quaestiones Geographicae, 31, 25–32.

Link, P. & Post, P. 2007. Spatial and temporal variance of cyclones in the Baltic Sea region. In COST Action 733, Proceedings from the 5th Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society Session AW8 – Weather Types Classifications (Tveito, O.-E. & Pasqui, M., eds), pp. 69–76. European Communities, Luxemburg.

Linno, E. L. 1982. Peculiarities of atmospheric circulation. In Klimat Tallina [Climate of Tallinn] (Prilipko, G. I., ed.), pp. 30–43. Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad [in Russian].

Mändla, K., Sepp, M. & Jaagus, J. 2012. Climatology of cyclones with a southern origin, and their influence on air temperature and precipitation in Estonia. Boreal Environmental Research, 17, 365–376.

Mann, H. B. 1945. Non-parametric tests against trend. Econo­metrica, 13, 245–259.

Mann, H. B. & Whitney, D. R. 1947. On a test of whether one of two random variables is stochastically larger than the other. Annals of Mathematical Statistics, 18, 50–60.

Mätlik, O. & Post, P. 2008. Synoptic weather types that have caused heavy precipitation in Estonia in the period 1961–2005. Estonian Journal of Engineering, 14, 195–208.

Merilain, M. & Tooming, H. 2003. Dramatic days in Estonia. Weather, 58, 119–125.

Reap, R. M. & Orville, R. E. 1990. The relationships between network lightning locations and surface hourly observations of thunderstorms. Monthly Weather Review, 118, 94–108.<0094:TRBNLS>2.0.CO;2

Sen, P. K. 1968. Estimates of the regression coefficient based on Kendall’s tau. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 63, 1379–1389.

Sepp, M., Post, P. & Jaagus, J. 2005. Long-term changes in the frequency of cyclones and their trajectories in Central and Northern Europe. Nordic Hydrology, 36, 297–309.

Shapiro, S. S., Wilk, M. B. & Chen, H. J. 1968. A comparative study of various tests for normality. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 63, 1343–1372.

Trigo, I. F., Davies, T. D. & Bigg, G. R. 1999. Objective climatology of cyclones in the Mediterranean region. Journal of Climate, 12, 1685–1696.<1685:OCOCIT>2.0.CO;2

Tuomi, T. J. & Mäkelä, A. 2008. Thunderstorm climate of Finland 1998–2007. Geophysica, 44, 67–80.

Back to Issue