Comparative Study of Tropical Cyclogenesis over Eastern and Western Caribbean

Student Classification

Joshua McCalla, 3rd-year, Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology

Faculty Mentor

Ademe Mekonnen, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


Tropical cyclones (TCs) are synoptic-scale storms that develop over tropical oceans. TCs are “rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms.” Tropical cyclogenesis refers to the successful development of a tropical storm. In association with pre-existing disturbances, tropical storms form over the Eastern Atlantic and propagate westward. However, TCs that form over the Eastern Atlantic, often, weaken as they approach the Eastern Caribbean (region 12-15N, 75W-60W) and redevelop over the Western Caribbean. The Eastern Caribbean is referred to as the “Hurricane Graveyard.” The aim of our research is to understand why TCs have a hard time developing in the Eastern Caribbean Sea but redevelop when they cross the eastern side of the basin. There may be several factors that could contribute to the weakening of convection. Given large-scale factors that favor TC genesis, we will investigate the east-west environmental and local conditions that affect TC development. We will examine sea surface temperature, easterly wind regime at the lower and middle troposphere, local mass divergence/convergence, and the Caribbean Low-Level Jet. We will extend our study to include vertical wind shear and moist conditions. We will use NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data. Additionally, we will investigate the Saharan air dust to shed light on the role of dust transported deep into the Caribbean. Understanding these factors can help to improve forecasting hurricanes and their trajectory.

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