A 10-Year Climatology of Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cloud Plumes and Their Composite Flow Patterns

Haig Iskenderian Department of Atmospheric Science, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York

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Abstract

A 10-year cool season climatology of tropical cloud plumes in the Northern Hemisphere was generated by visual inspection of infrared satellite imagery. The sample included 1062 plume events during the months of October to May for the years 1974 to 1984. The results show that the westerly ducts of the tropical eastern Pacific and central Atlantic are preferred regions for tropical cloud plume development. Composite fields of streamfunction and outgoing longwave radiation for eastern Pacific plumes indicate that both low-latitude westerlies in the planetary-scale basic-state flow and the presence of synoptic-scale transients appear to be favorable for plume formation. With a knowledge of these features, some of the interannual and intraannual variability shown in the climatology can be explained.

Abstract

A 10-year cool season climatology of tropical cloud plumes in the Northern Hemisphere was generated by visual inspection of infrared satellite imagery. The sample included 1062 plume events during the months of October to May for the years 1974 to 1984. The results show that the westerly ducts of the tropical eastern Pacific and central Atlantic are preferred regions for tropical cloud plume development. Composite fields of streamfunction and outgoing longwave radiation for eastern Pacific plumes indicate that both low-latitude westerlies in the planetary-scale basic-state flow and the presence of synoptic-scale transients appear to be favorable for plume formation. With a knowledge of these features, some of the interannual and intraannual variability shown in the climatology can be explained.

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