Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
9 April 2023

The Relationship Between African Easterly Waves and Tropical Cyclones in Historical and Future Climates in the HighResMIP‐PRIMAVERA Simulations



The deadly and destructive nature of tropical cyclones (TCs) makes understanding their response to future climate change of the utmost importance. TC genesis hinges on multiple factors, including an initial disturbance. African easterly waves (AEWs) have been shown to serve as such disturbances for TCs developing in the North Atlantic. It is therefore crucial to understand the relationship between AEWs and TCs and how this relationship may be affected by climate change. In this study, we examine the AEW-TC relationship in historical and future climates using three models from the HighResMIP PRIMAVERA simulations. The AEWs and TCs were tracked in the model data using objective tracking algorithms, and AEW and TC tracks were then matched together if they were close to each other in space and time. The strength of the AEWs was measured using the eddy kinetic energy and the curvature vorticity of the waves. TC strength and intensity were measured using potential intensity and lifetime maximum 10 m windspeed. We found that future changes in the frequency of AEWs are not a good indicator of future TC activity. However, AEW strength, as well as environmental conditions conducive to strong TCs, are good indicators of AEWs that develop into TCs in both historical and future climates.

Bercos‐Hickey, Emily, Christina M. Patricola, Burlen Loring, and William D. Collins. 2023. “The Relationship Between African Easterly Waves And Tropical Cyclones In Historical And Future Climates In The Highresmip‐Primavera Simulations”. Journal Of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 128 (7). American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi:10.1029/2022jd037471.
Funding Program Area(s)
Additional Resources: