Spatial and temporal distribution of North Atlantic tropical cyclones

  • M Camara
  • A Diedhiou
  • AT Gaye


The aim of this work is to provide a classification of tropical cyclones (TC) according to their location, month of genesis and their lifecycles and to study the role of African Easterly Waves (AEWs) in North Atlantic cyclogenesis. Between 1980 and 2004, 269 tropical cyclones (TCs) were formed over the North Atlantic, 77% of which occurred during the August-October period and 95% of major hurricanes (TCs in which the maximum sustained wind was greater or equal to 50 m/s) were generated in the same period. The high activity of the August-October period was due to the favourable thermodynamic and dynamic conditions that simultaneously exist over the main development region (MDR). A classification of TCs according to their months of genesis and lifecycles showed that TCs generated before August and after October have no preferential latitude and longitude of genesis. TCs generated at the East of 60°W and over the southern part of the MDR have long lifecycles. Major hurricanes have long lifecycles and are generally initiated over the southern part of the MDR and East of 60°W. The spatial representation of the cyclogenesis area shows that cyclones are generated along two main axes; one is situated around 12.5°N (southern axis) and the second around 27.5°N (northern axis). 56% (44%) of TCs are generated over the southern axis (northern axis). 92% of TCs initiated along the southern axis originate from African Easterly Waves. While 64% of those generated over the northern axis are linked to mid-latitude baroclinic systems and upper level cold lows. This study contributes to a better understanding of North Atlantic cyclogenesis characteristics as well as the role of AEWs.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1996-0786
print ISSN: 1996-0786