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Little evidence of reduced global tropical cyclone activity following recent volcanic eruptions

Camargo, Suzana J.

The impact of volcanic aerosols on recent global tropical cyclone (TC) activity is examined in observations, reanalysis, and models (the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 - CMIP5 multi-model, and one single model large ensemble). In observations, we find a reduction of TC activity only in the North Atlantic following the last three strong volcanic eruptions; that signal, however, cannot be clearly attributed to volcanoes, as all three eruptions were simultaneous with El Niño events. In reanalyses, we find no robust impact of volcanic eruptions on potential intensity (PI) and genesis indices. In models, we find a reduction in PI after volcanic eruptions in the historical simulations, but this effect is significantly reduced when differences between the model environment and observations are accounted for. Morever, the CMIP5 multi-model historical ensemble shows no effect of volcanic eruptions on a TC genesis index. Finally, there is no robust and consistent reduction in recent TC activity following recent volcanic eruptions in a large set of synthetic TCs downscaled from these simulations. Taken together, these results show that in recent eruptions volcanic aerosols did not reduce global TC activity.

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