172 Sensitivity of Tropical Cyclone Rainfall to Idealized Global Scale Forcings

Thursday, 3 April 2014
Golden Ballroom (Town and Country Resort )
Gabriele Villarini, IIHR HYDROSCIENCE & ENGINEERING, IOWA CITY, IA; and D. A. Lavers, E. Scoccimarro, M. Zhao, M. F. Wehner, G. A. Vecchi, and T. R. Knutson

Heavy rainfall and flooding associated with tropical cyclones (TCs) are responsible for a large number of fatalities and economic damage worldwide. Despite their large socio-economic impacts, research into these TC-related hazards has received limited attention to date, and still represents a major challenge. Our capability of adapting to future changes in heavy rainfall and flooding associated with TCs is inextricably linked to and informed by our understanding of the sensitivity of TC rainfall likely future forcing mechanisms. Here we use a set of high-resolution atmospheric model experiments produced as part of the U.S. CLIVAR Hurricane Working Group activity to examine TC response to idealized global-scale perturbations: the doubling of CO2, uniform 2K increases in global sea surface temperature (SST), and their combined impact. As a preliminary but key step, TC rainfall within climate model outputs are first compared and contrasted to the observational records. To assess similarities and differences across different regions in response to the warming scenarios, analyses are performed at the global and hemispheric scales and in six global TC ocean basins. The results indicate a reduction in precipitation in the doubling CO2 scenario (on the order of 5% globally), and an increase in TC rainfall associated with a uniform increase of 2K in SST (both alone and in combination with CO2 doubling; on the order of 10-20% globally).
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