413 Sensitivity of Simulated African Easterly Wave Stormtrack to Orographic Effects

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Joshua Dylan White, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC; and A. R. Aiyyer

African easterly waves (AEWs) are synoptic-scale disturbances that propagate across northern Africa during the warm season, impacting regional convection systems and often serving as precursors for Atlantic hurricanes. AEW activity is organized into two distinct stormtracks on the poleward and equator side of the African easterly Jet (AEJ): one at about 650 hPa and the other near the surface. Along the AEW storm tracks are notable orographic features such as the Ethiopian Highlands and the Ahaggar and Tibetsi mountains. The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of orography on the energetic and thermodynamic development of AEWs. We use the Weather Research and Forecasting model to produce output of simulated seasons (July through October) with reduced topography along the AEW storm track and compare them to a simulated control season as well as European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Reanalysis and satellite derived products. Preliminary results show that removing all topographic features reduces the overall AEW activity but does not eliminate the waves. Furthermore, irrespective of which topographical feature is reduced in height, the greatest difference is seen where the climatological AEW activity is a maximum. These results cast a new light on the triggering hypothesis for AEWs.
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