Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable increase in research efforts devoted to studying tropical cyclone interaction(s) with Saharan dust emanating from Western and Central Africa. Much previous work has studied the relationship between atmospheric concentrations of Saharan dust and intensification rates of nearby tropical cyclones with respect to a given Saharan dust plume moving across the tropical Atlantic Basin. A secondary research directive has been to assess structural tendencies of tropical cyclones (TC) traveling in the vicinity of Saharan dust plumes. This aspect of TC-dust interaction has been studied by evaluating the presence of observable trends in TC structural symmetry as observed through down-looking Geostationary Earth-orbiting satellites such as the GOES-13 satellite. The first part of this research will review previous work which has hypothesized a connection between both MJO and ENSO phases/transition to atmospheric variability across Western and Central Africa. An improved understanding of synoptic conditions preceding the initiation of impactful Saharan Dust storms across Eastern/Central Africa and areas in and around the Mediterranean Sea should foster a greater cognizance of which atmospheric factors lead to higher-concentration Saharan Dust plumes. By assessing satellite-derived aerosol optical depth (AOD) products and synoptic analyses, the goal is to evaluate relevant atmospheric parameters which effectively depict the implications of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) on developing TC's across the Atlantic Ocean. Further analysis will be conducted to assess how Saharan dust plumes may indirectly affect the trajectory of a TC based on possible impacts to storm outflow and/or vertical structure.
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