Academic Commons

Articles

Projected Twenty-First-Century Changes in the Length of the Tropical Cyclone Season

Dwyer, John G.; Camargo, Suzana J.; Sobel, Adam H.; Biasutti, Michela; Emanuel, Kerry A.; Vecchi, Gabriel A.; Zhao, Ming; Tippett, Michael K.

This study investigates projected changes in the length of the tropical cyclone season due to greenhouse gas increases. Two sets of simulations are analyzed, both of which capture the relevant features of the observed annual cycle of tropical cyclones in the recent historical record. Both sets use output from the general circulation models (GCMs) of either phase 3 or phase 5 of the CMIP suite (CMIP3 and CMIP5, respectively). In one set, downscaling is performed by randomly seeding incipient vortices into the large-scale atmospheric conditions simulated by each GCM and simulating the vortices’ evolution in an axisymmetric dynamical tropical cyclone model; in the other set, the GCMs’ sea surface temperature (SST) is used as the boundary condition for a high-resolution global atmospheric model (HiRAM). The downscaling model projects a longer season (in the late twenty-first century compared to the twentieth century) in most basins when using CMIP5 data but a slightly shorter season using CMIP3. HiRAM with either CMIP3 or CMIP5 SST anomalies projects a shorter tropical cyclone season in most basins. Season length is measured by the number of consecutive days that the mean cyclone count is greater than a fixed threshold, but other metrics give consistent results. The projected season length changes are also consistent with the large-scale changes, as measured by a genesis index of tropical cyclones. The season length changes are mostly explained by an idealized year-round multiplicative change in tropical cyclone frequency, but additional changes in the transition months also contribute.

Files

Also Published In

Title
Journal of Climate
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00686.1

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Published Here
June 15, 2016
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.