4B.4 TC-permitting GCM simulations of hurricane frequency response to sea surface temperature anomalies projected for the late 21st century

Monday, 16 April 2012: 4:45 PM
Champions DE (Sawgrass Marriott)
Ming Zhao, NOAA/GFDL, Princeton, NJ; and I. M. Held

A tropical cyclone permitting global atmospheric model is used to explore hurricane frequency response to sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies generated by coupled models for the late 21st century. Results are presented for SST anomalies averaged over 18 models as well as from 8 individual models. For each basin, there exists large inter-model spread in the magnitude and even the sign of the frequency response among the different SST projections. These sizable variations in response are explored to understand features of SST distributions that are important for the basin-wide hurricane responses. In the N. Atlantic, the E. Pacific and the S. Indian basins, most (72-86%) of the inter-model variance in storm frequency response can be explained by a simple relative SST index defined as a basin's storm development region SST minus the tropical mean SST. The explained variance is significantly lower in the S. Pacific (48%) and much lower in the W. Pacific basin (27%). Several atmospheric parameters are utilized to probe changes in tropical atmospheric circulation and thermodynamical properties relevant to storm genesis in the model. While all present strong correlation to storm response in some basins, a parameter measuring tropospheric convective mass-flux stands out as skillful in explaining the simulated differences for all basins. Globally, in addition to a modest reduction of total storm frequency, the simulations exhibit a small but robust eastward and poleward migration of genesis frequency in both the N. Pacific and the N. Atlantic oceans. This eastward migration of storms can also be explained by changes in convection.
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