First, we will examine the relationship of large-scale environmental variables, such as vertical wind shear and potential intensity as well as various integrated genesis indices, to standard TC activity measures. Then we will test process-based diagnostics to investigate the mechanisms of TC formation in climate models, in particular, the influence of model physics. The first type of diagnostics focus on how convection, moisture, clouds and related processes are coupled at individual grid points, and give information about how the convective parameterizations interact with resolved model dynamics. These diagnostics are strongly-based on diagnostics originally used to analyze the Madden-Julian Oscillation in climate models. The second type of diagnostics focuses on moisture-convection-radiation feedbacks and was originally developed to study the mechanisms of tropical convective organization. We will apply these diagnostics to explore the TC activity in four high-resolution climate models.