The Genesis of African Easterly Waves by Upstream Development

Michael Diaz North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Anantha Aiyyer North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Abstract

A genesis mechanism for African easterly waves (AEWs) is proposed. In the same manner that new troughs and ridges in the midlatitudes form downstream of existing ones through a mechanism known as downstream development, it is proposed that new AEWs can be generated upstream of existing AEWs. A local eddy kinetic energy budget of the AEW that ultimately became Hurricane Alberto (2000) demonstrates that upstream development explains its genesis more convincingly than previous theories of AEW genesis. The energetics and ageostrophic secondary circulation of a composite AEW are consistent with a new AEW forming as a result of this mechanism. Some strengths and weaknesses of upstream development as a paradigm for AEW genesis are discussed with respect to other potential mechanisms.

Corresponding author address: Michael Diaz, North Carolina State University, 2800 Faucette Dr., Raleigh, NC 27695. E-mail: mldiaz@ncsu.edu

Abstract

A genesis mechanism for African easterly waves (AEWs) is proposed. In the same manner that new troughs and ridges in the midlatitudes form downstream of existing ones through a mechanism known as downstream development, it is proposed that new AEWs can be generated upstream of existing AEWs. A local eddy kinetic energy budget of the AEW that ultimately became Hurricane Alberto (2000) demonstrates that upstream development explains its genesis more convincingly than previous theories of AEW genesis. The energetics and ageostrophic secondary circulation of a composite AEW are consistent with a new AEW forming as a result of this mechanism. Some strengths and weaknesses of upstream development as a paradigm for AEW genesis are discussed with respect to other potential mechanisms.

Corresponding author address: Michael Diaz, North Carolina State University, 2800 Faucette Dr., Raleigh, NC 27695. E-mail: mldiaz@ncsu.edu
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