WEST AFRICAN STORM TRACKS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ATLANTIC TROPICAL CYCLONES Susanna Hopsch Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences University.
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Presentation on theme: "WEST AFRICAN STORM TRACKS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ATLANTIC TROPICAL CYCLONES Susanna Hopsch Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences University."— Presentation transcript:
WEST AFRICAN STORM TRACKS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ATLANTIC TROPICAL CYCLONES Susanna Hopsch Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences University at Albany/SUNY,NY Funded by: NSF (PTAEO:1023911-1-24796) NOAA (NA03OAR4310007)
Motivation Previous studies have shown a strong relationship between Sahelian rainfall variability and Atlantic tropical cyclone variability (e.g. Landsea and Gray, 1992) This may be associated with: (i) Large scale/teleconnections and changes in the environment where storms form (e.g. shear) (ii) Variability in the West African weather systems Improve knowledge about nature and variability of West African storm tracks
Data set: The ECMWF ERA40 data set 1958 –2002 is used to track relative vorticity centers Method used for identification as of Hodges (1995) Results shown here are based on analysis of 850hPa track statistics METHOD
How to choose a track Thresholds: 0.5 x 10 -5 s -1 intensity lifetimes > 2 days travel > 10 o lon/lat
850hPa Climatology ERA40 Track density, May – Nov, 1958-2002 MDR region outlined in red What are the relative roles of northern and southern tracks on TC activity in the MDR?
Seasonal cycle statistics maps for eastern MDR storm tracks Jul Aug Track density SepOct
Seasonal cycle continued… AugJul Genesis density OctSep
South track North track Number of vortices along the southern and northern track: year-to-year variability for both northern and southern tracks and their efficiency to reach the MDR is large noticeable low-frequency variability found for south tracks, which is associated with moist convection and precipitation northern track has negligible low-frequency variability
Composite of major hurricane index and all storm tracks for active/inactive years (Jul – Oct) Active Inactive Genesis density for active years ( 1 ) Strong contributions from southern track and oceanic genesis maximum Can be explained by low-freq. variability
Why are ST and tropical storms poorly correlated on interannual scales? 1988 1989 MDR best track data Vorticity tracks and SST-anom
Does the synoptic scale offer clues? Example: using the 2-6 day filtered v-variance Interannual correlation of tropical storms in the MDR (from best track data) and 2-6 day filtered meridional wind variance from the 850 hPa- level for July through October for 1963 to 1996 from ERA40. Contouring starts at 95% significance level. MDR tropical storms MDR hurricanes MDR major hurricanes
Summary Seasonal variation in e.g. number density and intensity coincides with that of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity Low-frequency variability of south tracks correlates well with West African precipitation, SSTs, TC activity etc Interannual variability is large but uncorrelated to Atlantic tropical cyclone activity etc The synoptic scale AEW are important to consider and correlate well with TCs
… discussion inspection of two extreme years (’88 vs. 89) shows that location of track-genesis might be important to consider for TC activity can synoptic scale weather systems (AEWs) be used to determine whether the vorticity tracks are in a favorable position for continued existence or even intensification Future Work: Need to consider the vertical structure of the tracked storms Are tracks that are associated with named storms found in strong synoptic AEWs? What are the differences between land-based storm tracks and ocean genesis storm tracks?