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Environmental control of tropical cyclones in CMIP5: A ventilation perspective

Tang, Brian; Camargo, Suzana J.

The ventilation index serves as a theoretically based metric to assess possible changes in the statistics of tropical cyclones to combined changes in vertical wind shear, midlevel entropy deficit, and potential intensity in climate models. Model output from eight Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 models is used to calculate the ventilation index. The ventilation index and its relationship to tropical cyclone activity between two 20 year periods are compared: the historical experiment from 1981 to 2000 and the RCP8.5 experiment from 2081 to 2100. The general tendency is for an increase in the seasonal ventilation index in the majority of the tropical cyclone basins, with exception of the North Indian basin. All the models project an increase in the midlevel entropy deficit in the tropics, although the effects of this increase on the ventilation index itself are tempered by a compensating increase in the potential intensity and a decrease in the vertical wind shear in most tropical cyclone basins. The nonlinear combination of the terms in the ventilation index results in large regional and intermodel variability. Basin changes in the ventilation index are well correlated with changes in the frequency of tropical cyclone formation and rapid intensification in the climate models. However, there is large uncertainty in the projections of the ventilation index and the corresponding effects on changes in the statistics of tropical cyclone activity.


Also Published In

Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
August 4, 2015