An observational study of aerosols and tropical cyclones over the eastern atlantic ocean basin for recent hurricane seasons

Abstract

The aerosol vertical distribution in the tropical cyclone (TC) main development region (MDR) during the recent active hurricane seasons (2015–2018) was investigated using observations from NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) Satellite. The Total Attenuated Backscatter (TAB) at 532 nm was measured by the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP Lidar) onboard CALIPSO which is a polar orbiting satellite that evaluates the role clouds and atmospheric aerosols play in Earth’s weather, climate and air quality. The TAB was used to illustrate the dispersion and magnitude of the aerosol vertical distribution in the TC-genesis region. A combination of extinction quality flag, cloud fraction, and cloud-aerosol discrimination (CAD) scores were used to filter out the impact of clouds. To better describe the qualitative and quantitative difference of aerosol along the paths of African Easterly Waves (AEWs), the MDR was further divided into two domains from 18◦ W to 30◦ W (Domain 1) and 30◦ W to 45◦ W (Domain 2), respectively. The distribution of average aerosol concentration from the time of active cyclogenesis was compared and quantified between each case. The resulting observations suggest that there are two distinct layers of aerosols in the vertical profile, a near surface layer from 0.5–1.75 km and an upper layer at 1.75–5 km in altitude. A quantification of the total aerosol concentration values indicate domain 2 cases were associated with higher aerosol concentrations than domain 1 cases. The environmental variables such as sea surface temperature (SST), vertical windshear (VWS), and relative humidity (RH) tended to be favorable for genesis to occur. Among all cases in this study, the results suggested tropical cyclone genesis and further development occurred under dust-loaded conditions while the environmental variables were favorable, indicating that dust aerosols may not play a significant role in inhibiting the genesis process of TCs

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