Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science

Tropical cyclones

Tropical Cyclones (TCs) belong to the most extraordinary events in nature. On average 40 to 50 TCs with maximum winds of more than 120 km/h are forming each year worldwide (Frank and Young, 2007).  Their size, which can exceed 8° in latitude, but also the possible covered distance of up to 10,000 km (only four TCs have been recorded so far with longer tracks) and their enormous maximum wind gusts, which can reach 300 km/h, puts them on the list of the most dangerous events in nature.

During the last decade, a possible connection between Saharan dust and hurricanes in the North Atlantic has been frequently debated.  A couple of studies claim a negative influence of dust on hurricane activity while others suggest the opposite.  In this project, a possible influence of dust on hurricane genesis is investigated with the general circulation model ECHAM6, coupled to the aerosol model HAM.  Recent results show that dust may have both inhibiting and supporting impacts on hurricane genesis.

Hurricane Gustav in 2008 (http://www
Hurricane Gustav in 2008 (
Saharan air layer west of North Africa (http://en
Saharan air layer west of North Africa (

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© 2015 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 30 October 2014