Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Wood, Kimberly M.

Committee Member

Dyer, Jamie L.

Committee Member

Rudzin, Johna E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Professional Meteorology/Climatology

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Tropical cyclone (TC) intensity and structure are affected by their environments, including sea surface temperature, vertical wind shear, and atmospheric moisture. Analyses of TC environments often rely on area-averaged quantities, yet the spatial variability of these fields can affect TC behavior, such as moisture distribution impacting where and how much rain falls. This study identifies spatial patterns of environmental moisture surrounding mature North Atlantic TCs during 2000-2021 in shear of less than 20 knots. Empirical orthogonal function analysis of total column water vapor reveals six dominant patterns. These patterns account for nearly 67% of the variance in the dataset and are affected by geographic location and large-scale atmospheric phenomena. Mid-level ventilation appears more likely in certain patterns. Future work will explore radar and passive microwave observations for cases in each pattern to quantify the physical impacts of these moisture patterns on mature TCs.


National Science Foundation

Available for download on Friday, August 15, 2025