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Keywords:

  • aerosols;
  • tropical cyclones

[1] The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is a dominant feature that influences the large-scale environment from West Africa to the western tropical North Atlantic. While the SAL can create hostile thermodynamic and kinematic environmental conditions for tropical cyclogenesis, it also provides an infusion of cloud condensation and ice nuclei which can potentially invigorate convection. Here we show that these mechanisms may have been involved with the development of Tropical Storm (TS) Debby and Tropical Depression (TD) 8 (later Hurricane Helene) in 2006. Satellite imagery and rawinsondes indicate SAL outbreaks just prior to the emergence of these disturbances over the extreme Eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. Here we examine the invigoration of convective bands associated with TS Debby and TD-8 based on satellite and direct aircraft measurement. In-situ aircraft measurements show enhanced cloud water content, cloud and precipitation sized particles, lightning and a 26 ms-1 updraft just south of the SAL with TD-8.