EGU21-307, updated on 03 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Tropical Cyclone and Easterly Wave Relationship in Regional Precipitation over the Tropical and Subtropical North America

Christian Dominguez
Christian Dominguez
  • National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Mexico City, Mexico (

Tropical cyclones (TCs) and easterly waves (EWs) produce significant seasonal rainfall over the tropical and subtropical North America. When TC activity over the tropical eastern Pacific (TEP) or the Intra Americas Seas (IAS) is below-normal (above-normal), regional precipitation may be below (above-normal). However, it is not only the number of TCs what may change seasonal precipitation, but the trajectory of the systems. TCs induce intense precipitation over continental regions if they are close enough to shorelines, for instance, if the TC center is located less than 500 km-distant from the coast. However, if TCs are more remote than this threshold distance, the chances of rain over continental regions decrease, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. In addition, a distant TC may induce subsidence or produce moisture divergence that inhibits, at least for a few days, convective activity farther away than the threshold distance.

EWs can produce up to 50% of seasonal rainfall and contribute substantially to interannual regional rainfall variability. An observational analysis shows that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) affects EW frequency and therefore, their contribution to seasonal rainfall. In recent years, TC activity over the Main Development Region (MDR) of the tropical North Atlantic has a negative impact on regional seasonal precipitation over northern South America. High TC activity over MDR corresponds to below-normal precipitation because it reduces the EW activity reaching northern South America through the recurving of TC tracks. Recurving TC tracks redirect moisture away from the tropical belt and into the mid-latitudes. However, this relationship only holds under neutral ENSO conditions and the positive phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. A 10-member regional model multi-physics ensemble simulation for the period 1990–2000 was analyzed to show the relationships are robust to different representations of physical processes. This new understanding of seasonal rainfall over the tropical Americas may support improved regional seasonal and climate outlooks.

How to cite: Dominguez, C.: Tropical Cyclone and Easterly Wave Relationship in Regional Precipitation over the Tropical and Subtropical North America, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-307,, 2020.

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