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Event Time
3:30 p.m.
Atlantic Building Room 2400 & Zoom

AOSC Seminar by Dr. Kelly Nuñez Ocasio, 2/9/2023

AOSC Seminar

Dr. Kelly Nuñez Ocasio

National Center for Atmospheric Research



The Multiscale Nature and Moisture Dependency of Tropical Cyclone Formation



A major hindrance to progress on the topic of tropical cyclone genesis is our limited understanding of interactions between mesoscale processes and the TC seedling and how these interactions are in large part driven by water vapor. In this talk, I’ll assess the multi-scale and moisture-dependent nature of African easterly wave (AEW) tropical cyclogenesis (TCG) using observations and in both parameterized and convection-permitting simulations. First, I will go over past work that motivated my current research on the phasing and relative propagation between AEW and MCSs and how it affects the likelihood of TCG. Then, I will discuss the key large-scale monsoonal features over Africa that relate to TCG in the Atlantic. In the second part of the talk, I will focus on the pre-Helene (2006) TCG case using Model for Prediction across Scales–Atmosphere (MPAS-A) simulations. I will show that MPAS-A is capable of reproducing the growth of the case and that its TCG was driven by moisture and convection co-located with the wave vortex, characteristic of moisture modes. Finally, I will present my most recent research on TC genesis moisture sensitivity, using convection-permitting simulations. The lack of moisture is detrimental to the simulated pre-Helene; however, a moister environment does not necessarily result in a more intense wave or tropical cyclogenesis event. Concluding remarks will include the broader impacts of this work in the prediction of TCG and discussing my future research directions.



Kelly Núñez Ocasio is an Advanced Study Program (ASP) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Lab (MMM) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). She received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University where she worked on mesoscale convective systems, African easterly waves, tropical cyclogenesis, and African weather and climate using both observations and model data. Before pursuing her Ph.D., she completed a Bachelor of Science in Theoretical Physics and a Curricular Sequence in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Her goals are to continue contributing to the understanding of TC genesis and of tropical convection, inform on how both atmospheric phenomena will change with the warming climate, and in this way better prepare communities to ultimately save lives and property.  

Dr. Núñez Ocasio is a Monthly Weather Review associate editor, member of the Tenth International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones (IWTC-10) committee, and an Academia Ambassador in the AMS Committee for Hispanic and Latinx Advancement (CHALA). Her recently open-access mesoscale convective system tracker was used in the NASA CPEX-CV and PRECIP field campaigns this summer as a forecasting tool.


Contact: Maria Molina

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AOSC Seminar

Pre-seminar refreshment: N/A
Seminar: 3:30-4:30pm, Room: ATL 2400(only when in-person)
Meet-the-Speaker: 4:30-5:00pm, Room: ATL 3400(only when in-person) [For AOSC Students only]

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