3.1 Statistical–Dynamical Downscaling Projections of Tropical Cyclone Activity in a Warming Climate: Two Diverging Genesis Scenarios

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 8:30 AM
205B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Adam H. Sobel, Columbia Univ., New York, NY; and C. Y. Lee, S. J. Camargo, and M. K. Tippett

Tropical cyclone (TC) activity is examined using the Columbia HAZard model (CHAZ), a statistical-dynamical downscaling system, with environmental conditions taken from simulations from the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) for the historical period and a future scenario under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5. Projections of global and basin TC frequency depend sensitively on the choice of moisture variable used in the Tropical Genesis Cyclone Index (TCGI) component of CHAZ. Simulations using column relative humidity show an increasing trend in the future, while those using saturation deficit show a declining trend, though both give similar results in the historical period. While the projected annual TC frequency is also sensitive to the choice of model used to provide the environmental conditions, the choice of humidity variable in the TCGI is more important. Changes in TC frequency directly affect the projected TCs’ tracks and the frequencies of strong storms on both basin and regional scales. This leads to large uncertainty in assessing regional and local storm hazards. The uncertainty here is fundamental and epistemic in nature. Increases in the relative frequency of major TCs, rapid intensification rate, and decreases in forward speed are insensitive to TC frequency, however. The present results are also consistent with prior studies in indicating that those TC events which do occur will, on average, be more destructive in the future because of the robustly projected increases in intensity.
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