Global and Regional Aspects of Tropical Cyclone Activity in the CMIP5 Models

Camargo, Suzana J.

Tropical cyclone (TC) activity is analyzed in 14 models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). The global TC activity in the historical runs is compared with observations. The simulation of TC activity in the CMIP5 models is not as good as in higher-resolution simulations. The CMIP5 global TC frequency is much lower than observed, and there is significant deficiency in the geographical patterns of TC tracks and formation. Although all of the models underestimate the global frequency of TCs, the models present a wide range of global TC frequency. The models with the highest horizontal resolution have the highest level of global TC activity, though resolution is not the only factor that determines model TC activity. A cold SST bias could potentially contribute to the low number of TCs in the models. The models show no consensus regarding the difference of TC activity in two warming scenarios [representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) and RCP8.5] and the historical simulation. The author examined in more detail North Atlantic and eastern North Pacific TC activity in a subset of models and found no robust changes across models in TC frequency. Therefore, there is no robust signal across the CMIP5 models in global and regional TC changes in activity for future scenarios. The future changes in various large-scale environmental fields associated with TC activity were also examined globally: genesis potential index, potential intensity, vertical wind shear, and sea level pressure. The multimodel mean changes of these variables in the CMIP5 models are consistent with the changes obtained in the CMIP3 models.


Also Published In

Journal of Climate

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Meteorological Society
Published Here
July 23, 2015