Saharan air layer interaction with Hurricane Claudette (2003)

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Title: Saharan air layer interaction with Hurricane Claudette (2003)
Author: Rothman, Gabriel Samuel
Abstract: It is well understood that the Saharan air layer (SAL ) influences the variability and the intensity of tropical cyclones and African easterly waves in the Atlantic Ocean Basin . The radiative and conductive properties of the mineral dust are thought to contribute to warming within the SAL , creating an anomalous baroclinic zone in the Tropical North Atlantic . Environmental baroclinic instability is a mechanism by which available potential energy is converted to eddy kinetic energy , leading to wave growth . However , this same baroclinic mechanism , along with the dry properties of the SAL could also lead to asymmetries in tropical cyclones , limiting tropical cyclone intensity . Claudette and its formative wave which occurred during the 2003 Atlantic Basin hurricane season propagated along the southern boundary of a broad but moderate SAL outbreak throughout its evolution . First , it was found that the presence of Saharan dust was well correlated to heating in the environment . Thus , the wave growth potential was diagnosed using the Chamey -Stem condition for combined barotropic -baroclinic instability . It was found that the Chamey -Stem condition was satisfied for the formative tropical wave throughout much of its evolution , corresponding to the mostly progressive wave growth which occurred over time . The lifting potential due to the SAL boundaries and the mid -level easterly jet were then investigated , and the current research suggests that there is a dual -celled set of circulations , forced by the SAL boundaries but modified by the mid -level easterly jet . The SAL continued to remain intact in the storm environment almost throughout Claudette's entire evolution , after tropical cyclogenesis and through its entire track into the Western Gulf of Mexico . Rapid intensification in the last 15 hours prior to landfall was concurrent with the breakdown of Saharan air intrusion that had been persistent in the storm environment . Although the presence of dry air may have limited the intensity of Claudette before the rapid intensification period , external factors from the SAL , such as oceanic hurricane heat potential , may have also played a role in Claudette's intensity fluctuations .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /10708
Date: 2004-08


Rothman, Gabriel Samuel Saharan air layer interaction with Hurricane Claudette (2003). Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /10708 .

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