Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Convectively-coupled Kelvin waves over the tropical Atlantic and African regions and their influence on Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis
by Ventrice, Michael J., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2012, 233; 3549903
Abstract (Summary)

High-amplitude convectively coupled atmospheric Kelvin waves (CCKWs) are explored over the tropical Atlantic during the boreal summer. Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis is found to be more frequent during the passage of the convectively active phase of the CCKW, and most frequent two days after its passage. CCKWs impact convection within the mean latitude of the inter-tropical convergence zone over the northern tropical Atlantic. In addition to convection, CCKWs also impact the large scale environment that favors Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis (i.e., deep vertical wind shear, moisture, and low-level relative vorticity).

African easterly waves (AEWs) are known to be the main precursors for Atlantic tropical cyclones. Therefore, the relationship between CCKWs and AEW activity during boreal summer is explored. AEW activity is found to increase over the Guinea Highlands and Darfur Mountains during and after the passage of the convectively active phase of the CCKW. First, CCKWs increase the number of convective triggers for AEW genesis. Secondly, the associated zonal wind structure of the CCKW is found to affect the horizontal shear on the equatorward side of the African easterly jet (AEJ), such that the jet becomes more unstable during and after the passage of the convectively active phase of the CCKW. The more unstable AEJ is assumed to play a role with increased AEW growth. Through the increased number of AEWs propagating over the tropical Atlantic, as well as from the direct impact on convection and the large-scale environment over the tropical Atlantic, CCKWs are recommended to be used as a means for medium-range predictability of Atlantic tropical cyclones.

In addition to modulating tropical cyclone activity over the tropical Atlantic, CCKWs might impact the intensification processes of tropical cyclones. A case study highlighting two August 2010 tropical cyclones (Danielle and Earl) is explored for potential CCKW-tropical cyclone interactions. While predicted to intensify by most model guidance, both Danielle and Earl struggled to do so. It is shown that Danielle and Earl interacted with the convectively suppressed phase of an eastward propagating CCKW during the time they were predicted to intensify. Composite analysis shows that during and after the passage of the convectively suppressed phase of the CCKW over the Atlantic, large-scale vertical wind shear increases as a result of anomalous upper-level westerlies collocated with anomalous lower-level easterlies. Large-scale subsidence associated with the convectively suppressed phase of the CCKW causes the atmosphere to dry. Further, when the upper-level westerly wind anomalies associated with the CCKW are located over the equatorial Atlantic, a tropical upper-tropospheric trough (TUTT) develops over the northern tropical Atlantic. TUTTs are upper-level disturbances known to negatively impact the intensity of tropical cyclones.

CCKWs over the tropical Atlantic tend to occur during preferable locations of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Results show that the MJO significantly modulates Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis using real-time multivariate MJO indices. Like CCKWs, AEW activity is found to vary coherently with MJO passages. Furthermore, the MJO also impacts the large-scale environment that favors for Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis. Therefore in addition to CCKWs, the state of the MJO should be used for Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis medium-range predictability.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thorncroft, Christophere D.
Commitee: Bosart, Lance F., Kiladis, George N., Monilari, John, Roundy, Paul E.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Earth and Atmospheric Sciences-Athmospheric Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Meteorology, Atmospheric sciences
Keywords: Atmospheric convection, Cyclogenesis, Equatorial waves, Kelvin waves, Madden-Julian oscillation, Tropical cyclones
Publication Number: 3549903
ISBN: 9781267867131
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