A first look at the structure of the wave pouch during the 2009 PREDICT-GRIP dry runs over the Atlantic

Zhuo Wang, Michael T. Montgomery, Cody Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In support of the National Science Foundation Pre-Depression Investigation of Cloud-systems in the tropics (NSF PREDICT) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (NASA GRIP) dry run exercises and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Intensity Forecast Experiment (NOAA IFEX) during the 2009 hurricane season, a real-time wave-tracking algorithm and corresponding diagnostic analyses based on a recently proposed tropical cyclogenesis model were applied to tropical easterly waves over the Atlantic. The model emphasizes the importance of a Lagrangian recirculation region within a tropical-wave critical layer (the so-called pouch), where persistent deep convection and vorticity aggregation as well as columnmoistening are favored for tropical cyclogenesis. Distinct scenarios of hybrid wave-vortex evolution are highlighted. It was found that easterlywaves without a pouch or with a shallow pouch did not develop. Although not all waves with a deep pouch developed into a tropical storm, a deep wave pouch had formed prior to genesis for all 16 named storms originating from monochromatic easterly waves during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. On the other hand, the diagnosis of two nondeveloping waves with a deep pouch suggests that strong vertical shear or dry air intrusion at the middle-upper levels (where a wave pouch was absent) can disrupt deep convection and suppress storm development. To sum up, this study suggests that a deep wave pouch extending from the midtroposphere (~600-700 hPa) down to the boundary layer is a necessary condition for tropical cyclone formation within an easterly wave. It is hypothesized also that a deep wave pouch together with other large-scale favorable conditions provides a sufficient condition for sustained convection and tropical cyclone formation. This hypothesized sufficient condition requires further testing and will be pursued in future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1163
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


  • Hurricanes
  • Mesoscale processes
  • Mesoscale systems
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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