Contrasting a non-developing African mesoscale convective system with the precursor to Hurricane Helene (2006)

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Glorianne M. Rivera, University of Puerto Rico, MayagŁez Campus, MayagŁez, PR; and H. L. Hamilton, J. L. Evans, and J. D. Fuentes

Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) in West Africa traverse strong thermodynamic gradients during their westward propagation from land to ocean. Some of the systems continue to develop after crossing the coastline and may ultimately develop into tropical cyclones, while others do not. Understanding the lifecycle behavior of these convective systems and the factors that contribute to their continuous development as they transition from a continental environment to a marine environment poses a challenge. We examine the difference between two MCSs, one that continued to develop when it crossed the West African coast and one that did not, using European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA Interim) and Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) 3B42 data. The non-developing MCS that intensified briefly while over land, weakened as soon as it crossed the coast. Preliminary results show that the developing MCS interacted with two cyclonic vortices, one associated with an African Easterly Wave that was propagating towards the coast and the other vortex generated by the topography near the coast.