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Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, University of Arizona Tip Sheet

May 10-14, 2010, Tucson, Ariz.

University of Arizona researchers will report new findings about hurricanes and other tropical cyclones. The presentations highlighted here focus on improving hurricane predictions and on the effects of such storms on the U.S. Southwest.

The following news tips are based on abstracts of talks or posters to be presented at the 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology held May 10-14, 2010, in Tucson, Ariz. The meeting is sponsored by the American Meteorological Society and organized by the AMS Committee on Tropical Meteorology.

The conference has more than 650 scheduled presentations and posters and 476 registered attendees representing 19 different countries.

All meeting sessions for the conferences will be held at The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa Tucson, 3800 W.Starr Pass Blvd., Tucson, Ariz. 85745. Phone number for the resort is 520-792-3500.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Predicting Developing Hurricanes by Checking the Symmetry of Cloud Clusters

Cloud clusters that are more circular are more likely to become hurricanes, reports a team of University of Arizona researchers. However, just looking at satellite images of clumps of clouds is not an objective way to figure out which groups of clouds are symmetrical enough. Miguel Pineros and his colleagues have developed a mathematical way to measure a cloud cluster's symmetry by using infrared measurements from satellite images.

Miguel Pineros, College of Optical Sciences of the University of Arizona; Elizabeth Ritchie of UA's department of atmospheric sciences; and J. Scott Tyo of UA's College of Optical Sciences.
E-mail address for presenter Miguel Pineros:
Poster title: Detecting Tropical Cyclone Formation from Satellite Infrared Imagery


Tropical Storms in Eastern Pacific Linked to Caribbean Low-Level Jet
3:30 – 5:15 p.m., Poster Session 1, Arizona Ballroom 7, Poster 1.106
When the winds known as the Caribbean Low-Level Jet are strong, there are more named tropical storms and hurricanes in the eastern Pacific, according to a study led by University of Arizona researcher Yolande Serra. In addition, when the jet is weak, there are more named storms in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The finding, based on a study of 19 years of named storms, suggests the jet has more influence than previously understood. The jet's activity is correlated with storms and other weather in the region known as the Intra-Americas Sea Region, which includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, the Gulf of California, the eastern Pacific and the land masses those seas surround. The region includes northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. The research has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Climate.
Yolande Serra, department of atmospheric sciences, University of Arizona; George Kiladis, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colo.; and Kevin Hodges, University of Reading, U.K.
Email for presenter Yolande Serra:
Poster title: Easterly Waves in the Intra-Americas Sea Region
Abstract :
Thursday, May 13
Pacific Hurricanes Hit or Miss in Contributions to Southwest Summer Rains
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Arizona Ballroom 7, Poster 2.102
Rain from remnants of hurricanes from the eastern Pacific Ocean can contribute 50 percent of the North American Southwest's summer precipitation in some years but zero other years, report University of Arizona researchers. The study examined the 43 eastern Pacific tropical storms and hurricanes that affected the Southwest from 1992 to 2005. Some years as many as four such storms hit the region, contributing up to 30 percent of the region's annual rainfall. The team's findings about the behavior of these storms will help weather forecasters in the Southwest.
Kimberly Wood and Elizabeth Ritchie of the University of Arizona's department of atmospheric sciences.
E-mail for presenter Kimberly Wood:
Poster Title: The impact of eastern Pacific tropical cyclones on the climatology of the North American Southwest region


Friday, May 14

Can Counting Lightning Flashes in Hot Towers Predict Hurricane Formation?
Session 16D, Tropical Cyclone Lightning: Observation and Intensity Change
10:15 AM-12:00 PM, Tucson Salon A-C, Presentation 16 D.5
Cloud clusters with more convection are thought to be more likely to become hurricanes. The tall cumulonimbus clouds called "hot towers" have deep convection and are associated with the most intense hurricanes. University of Arizona researchers combined information from the National Lightning Detection Network with infrared images from satellites to count lightning strike rates in storms over the eastern Pacific Ocean. The team found that cloud clusters with a higher rate of lightning strikes are more likely to develop into hurricanes. Because lightning requires convection, the researchers are now testing whether the rate of lightning strikes in ocean thunderstorms can tell which storms will become hurricanes.
Lesley Leary and Elizabeth Ritchie of the University of Arizona's department of atmospheric sciences.
E-mail for presenter Lesley Leary:
Talk title: The role of convection in determining tropical cyclone genesis in the eastern North Pacific


American Meteorological Society Contact
Marjorie Huntington
Meeting registration desk:
520-792-3500 and ask to be connected

Mari N. Jensen | University of Arizona
Further information:

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