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Publication Date

September 2011

Publication Title

Earth Interactions



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Caribbean Antilles, Mesoclimate, Jamaica, Mountain wake, Trade wind convection


Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology


The mesoscale structure of the circulation and convection over central Caribbean Antilles islands in midsummer is analyzed. Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent over islands such as Hispaniola and Jamaica as confluent trade winds circulate over heated mountainous topography. Observational data from a rain gauge network, profiles from aircraft and radiosonde, satellite estimates of rainfall, and mesoscale reanalysis fields are studied with a focus on July 2007. A statistical decomposition of 3-hourly high-resolution satellite rainfall reveals an “island mode” with afternoon convection. Trade winds pass over the mountains of Hispaniola and Jamaica with a Froude number <1, leading to a long meandering wake. The Weather Research and Forecasting model is used to simulate climatic conditions during July 2007. The model correctly locates areas of diurnal rainfall that develop because of island heat fluxes, confluent sea breezes, and mountain wakes.


SJSU users: Use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.This article was published in Earth Interactions, volume 15, issue 25, 2011, and can also be found online here.© Copyright 2011, American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. All AMS journals and monograph publications are registered with the Copyright Clearance Center ( Questions about permission to use materials for which AMS holds the copyright can also be directed to Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement, available on the AMS website (