Thursday, October 12, 2006

Article of the week: New evidence for a relationship between Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and African dust outbreaks

Dust stormNASA's TERRA satelite spots a dust storm (in yellow) off the western coast of Africa. Amato Evan and company suggest that dust storms moving west from the Sahara may help "dampen" hurricanes. Photo credit: NASA via Amato Evan.

Amato T. Evan et al., New evidence for a relationship between Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and African dust outbreaks, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, L19813, doi:10.1029/2006GL026408, 2006 (Oct. 10, 2006)

Abstract

It is well known that Atlantic tropical cyclone activity varies strongly over time, and that summertime dust transport over the North Atlantic also varies from year to year, but any connection between tropical cyclone activity and atmospheric dust has been limited to a few case studies. Here we report new results that demonstrate a strong relationship between interannual variations in North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and atmospheric dust cover as measured by satellite, for the years 1982–2005. While we cannot conclusively demonstrate a direct causal relationship, there appears to be robust link between tropical cyclone activity and dust transport over the Tropical Atlantic.

Received 3 April 2006; accepted 30 August 2006; published 10 October 2006.

Index Terms: 0305 Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Aerosols and particles (0345, 4801, 4906); 1620 Global Change: Climate dynamics (0429, 3309); 1637 Global Change: Regional climate change; 1640 Global Change: Remote sensing (1855); 3374 Atmospheric Processes: Tropical meteorology.



Science Daily offers a succinct summary of this article:
During periods of intense hurricane activity, he found, dust was relatively scarce in the atmosphere. In years when stronger dust storms rose up, on the other hand, fewer hurricanes swept through the Atlantic.
This item has been cross-posted at BioLaw.

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