Aaron Naeger

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Atmospheric Science

Committee Chair

Sundar A. C.

Committee Member

Qingyuan Han

Committee Member

Udaysankar Nair

Committee Member

John Christy

Committee Member

Rich Ferrare


Cyclones--Tropics., Air--Pollution--Meteorological aspects., Convection (Meteorology), Aerosols--Environmental aspects., Dust--Environmental aspects., Sahara.


Genesis of Tropical Cyclones (TCs) in the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes is tied to convection initiated by African easterly waves (AEWs) during Northern hemisphere summer and fall seasons. The main development region is also impacted by dust aerosols transported from the Sahara. It has been hypothesized that dust aerosols can modulate the development of TCs through aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interaction processes. In this study, we investigate the impact of dust aerosols on TC development using the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with chemistry (WRF-Chem). We first develop a technique to constrain the WRF-Chem model with a realistic three-dimensional spatial distribution of dust aerosols. The horizontal distribution of dust is specified using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived aerosol products and output from the Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART) model. The vertical distribution of dust is constrained using the Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO). We validate our technique through in situ aircraft measurements where both showed aerosol number concentrations from 20-30 cm-3 in the atmosphere for Saharan dust moving over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Then, we use the satellite data constraint technique to nudge the WRF-Chem aerosol fields throughout the simulation of TC Florence developing over the eastern Atlantic Ocean during September 2006. Three different experiments are conducted where the aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interaction processes are either activated or deactivated in the model while all other model options are identical between the experiments. By comparing the model experiment results, the impact of the aerosol interaction processes on TC development can be understood. The results indicate that dust aerosols can delay or prevent the development of a TC as the minimum sea level pressure of TC Florence was 13 hPa higher when the aerosols interactions were activated as opposed to deactivated in the model.



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