Attributes of mesoscale convective systems at the land-ocean transition in Senegal during NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses 2006

Marcia S. DeLonge, Jose D. Fuentes, Stephen Chan, Paul A. Kucera, Everette Joseph, Amadou T. Gaye, Badiane Daouda

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21 Scopus citations


In this study we investigate the development of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) as it moved from West Africa to the Atlantic Ocean on 31 August 2006. We document surface and atmospheric conditions preceding and following the MCS, particularly near the coast. These analyses are used to evaluate how thermodynamic and microphysical gradients influence storms as they move from continental to maritime environments. To achieve these goals, we employ observations from NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (NAMMA) from the NASA S band polarimetric Doppler radar, a meteorological flux tower, upper-air soundings, and rain gauges. We show that the MCS maintained a convective leading edge and trailing stratiform region as it propagated from land to ocean. The initial strength and organization of the MCS were associated with favorable antecedent conditions in the continental lower atmosphere, including high specific humidity (18 g kg-1), temperatures (300 K), and wind shear. While transitioning, the convective and stratiform regions became weaker and disorganized. Such storm changes were linked to less favorable thermodynamic, dynamic, and microphysical conditions over ocean. To address whether storms in different life-cycle phases exhibited similar features, a composite analysis of major NAMMA events was performed. This analysis revealed an even stronger shift to lower reflectivity values over ocean. These findings support the hypothesis that favorable thermodynamic conditions over the coast are a prerequisite to ensuring that MCSs do not dissipate at the continental-maritime transition, particularly due to strong gradients that can weaken West African storms moving from land to ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD10213
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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