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The footprints of Saharan air layer and lightning on the formation of tropical depressions over the eastern Atlantic Ocean
Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (2015)
  • Diana C. Centeno Delgado, San Jose State University
  • Sen Chiao, San Jose State University
The roles of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) and lightning during genesis of Tropical Depression (TD) 8 (2006) and TD 12 (2010) were investigated in relation to the interaction of the dust outbreaks with each system and their surrounding environment. This study applied data collected from the 2006 NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis and 2010 Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes projects. Satellite observations from METEOSAT and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)—Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) were also employed for the study of the dust content. Lightning activity data from the Met Office Arrival Time Difference (ATD) system were used as another parameter to correlate moist convective overturning and a sign of cyclone formation. The AOD and lightning analysis for TD 8 demonstrated the time-lag connection through their positive contribution to TC-genesis. TD 12 developed without strong dust outbreak, but with lower wind shear (2 m s−1) and an organized Mesoscale Convective System (MCS). Overall, the results from the combination of various data analyses in this study support the fact that both systems developed under either strong or weak dust conditions. From these two cases, the location (i.e., the target area) of strong versus weak dust outbreaks, in association with lightning, were essential interactions that impacted TC-genesis. While our dust footprints hypothesis applied under strong dust conditions (i.e., TD 8), other factors (e.g., vertical wind shear, pre-existing vortex and trough location, thermodynamics) need to be evaluated as well. The results from this study suggest that the SAL is not a determining factor that affects the formation of tropical cyclones (i.e., TD 8 and TD 12).
Publication Date
February, 2015
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
Diana C. Centeno Delgado and Sen Chiao. "The footprints of Saharan air layer and lightning on the formation of tropical depressions over the eastern Atlantic Ocean" Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics Vol. 127 Iss. 1 (2015) p. 17 - 32 ISSN: 0177-7971
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