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Tropical cyclogenesis in the eastern North Pacific (EPAC) basin is related to gap-wind-induced vorticity, the monsoon trough, and the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). There are several gaps in the Central American Mountains, on the eastern edge of the EPAC basin, through which wind can be funneled to generate surface wind jets (gap winds). This study focuses on gap winds that occur over the Gulf of Papagayo and the Gulf of Tehuantepec. QuikSCAT (QSCAT) 10 m equivalent neutral winds are used to identify gap wind events that occur during May through November of 2002-2008. Dvorak fix locations, GridSAT IR data, and National Hurricane Center Tropical Cyclone (TC) Reports are used to track the disturbances that occurred during the study period. Surface vorticity is tracked using the QSCAT winds and the contribution of vorticity from the gap winds to the development of each disturbance is categorized as small, medium, or large. Cross-calibrated multiplatform (CCMP) surface wind data are used to verify the tracking of QSCAT computed vorticity and to identify when the monsoon trough and the ITCZ are present. It is found that gap winds are present over the Gulf of Papagayo and the Gulf of Tehuantepec for more than 50% of the QSCAT coverage days and that these gap winds appear to contribute to the development of disturbances in the EPAC. Considerably more TCs form when the monsoon trough is present versus the ITCZ and the majority of the contributions from the gap winds also occur when the monsoon trough is present.
Gap winds, ITCZ, Monsoon Trough, Papagayo, Tehuantepec, Tropical cyclogenesis
Date of Defense
June 29, 2012.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Mark Bourassa, Professor Directing Thesis; Robert Hart, Committee Member; Guosheng Liu, Committee Member; Mark Powell, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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