Tropical cyclogenesis within an equatorial Rossby wave packet

John Molinari, Kelly Lombardo, David Vollaro

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66 Scopus citations


A packet of equatorial Rossby (ER) waves that lasted 2.5 months is identified in the lower troposphere of the northwest Pacific. Waves within the packet had a period of 22 days, a wavelength of 3600 km, a westward phase speed of 1.9 m s-1, and a near-zero group speed. The wave properties followed the ER wave dispersion relation with an equivalent depth near 25 m. The packet was associated with the development of at least 8 of the 13 tropical cyclones that formed during the period. A composite was constructed around the genesis locations. Tropical cyclones formed east of the center of the composite ER wave low in a region of strong convection and a separate 850-hPa vorticity maximum. The background flow during the life of the packet was characterized by 850-hPa zonal wind convergence and easterly vertical wind shear. Wave amplitude peaked at the west end of the convergent region, suggesting that wave accumulation played a significant role in the growth of the packet. The presence of easterly vertical wind shear provided an environment that trapped energy in the lower troposphere. Each of these processes increases wave amplitude and thus the likelihood of tropical cyclone formation within the waves. The initial low pressure region within the wave packet met Lander's definition of a monsoon gyre. It developed to the west of persistent localized convection that followed the penetration of an upper-tropospheric trough into the subtropics. It is argued that the monsoon gyre represented the initial ER wave low within the packet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1317
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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