Amazonian Mesoscale Convective Systems: Life Cycle and Propagation Characteristics
MetadataShow full item record
Convective system tracking was performed using 30‐min GOES‐13 infrared imagery over the Amazon region during 2014 and 2015. A total of 116,701 convective systems were identified and statistics on the probability of occurrence of track area, lifetime and system velocity were analyzed. Maps of the total and seasonal geographic density of trajectories and the geographic density of clusters at genesis, during propagation, and at dissipation were also assessed. The mean area and lifetime of the tracked systems was 4 × 104 km2 and 3 hours, respectively. The top 10% largest systems had areas >8 × 104 km2 and the top 10% longest lived systems lasted >7 hr. The geographical distribution of clusters identified on the coast and within the Amazon basin varied seasonally and their life cycle tracking showed that they are typically distinct from one another (i.e., it is relatively rare for systems to start at the coast and propagate 1,500 km to the center of the basin). Although the average system velocity indicated a predominantly westward motion, a large spread in the direction of propagation was found. In particular, the probability of a meridional component of motion was generally the same for northward or southward directions and 35% of the zonal propagation was associated with eastward movement. The presence of Kelvin waves accounted for some of the eastward system motion, in addition to increasing the area and lifetime of storms compared to when Kelvin waves were not present.