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Researchers discover link between airflow over Asia and Atlantic hurricanes

A team of researchers at the University of Iowa has shown a connection that could impact future long-range forecasting in the tropics.
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 5:09 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Researchers at the University of Iowa have discovered an atmospheric control mechanism tied to Atlantic hurricane activity. The research is focused on Rossby waves traveling along the East Asian Subtropical Jet Stream (EASJ).

The East Asia Subtropical Jet strength has been found to correlate with tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin.
The East Asia Subtropical Jet strength has been found to correlate with tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin.(Charlie Ironmonger)

Rossby waves are a common occurrence in the atmosphere, and their presence is generally associated with higher levels of wind shear.

The team found that a stronger EASJ over China and the Pacific Ocean leads to a higher rate of Rossby waves entering the Atlantic basin, which in turn increases the wind shear over the ocean and limits tropical cyclone potential.

This discovery also lines up with the observed relationship between tropical systems and El Niño. During El Niño years, the subtropical jet moves further south and increases its speed. The increase speed leads to a rise in wind shear over the Atlantic. According to the Iowa team’s research, Rossby waves may be a source of this wind shear increase during El Niño events.

The goal of the study is to solidify a method to determine ebbs and flows in tropical activity based on the EASJ speed, leading to improvements in long-range forecasting in the Atlantic. For more information on this study, you can find it here.

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