Climate Change and the Track and Intensity of Hurricane Sandy
Here, we investigate question (ii) using a simplified approach that is designed to quantify the storm-scale changes attributable to large-scale thermodynamic changes. An ensemble of WRF model simulations, in conjunction with GCM-derived large-scale thermodynamic changes, is used to determine the dynamical changes. One initial hypothesis is that the diabatically driven outflow from Sandy would be lessened in the past, which would reduce the strength of the downstream ridge event, and result in a more easterly track of Sandy. Similarly, we hypothesize that a futuristic version of Sandy would be characterized by stronger condensational heating, even greater diabatic ridging to the north and east, and a more westerly track. However, previous studies document an increase in the strength of the upper westerlies with future warming, which would impart the opposite effect on the storm track. The results of these hypothesis tests will be presented, along with analysis of changes in rainfall, near-surface wind speed, and other impact parameters. The results are not consistent with the first hypothesis: The future simulation produces the most easterly track, but the greatest intensity.