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  1. Most current climate models predict that the equatorial Pacific will evolve under greenhouse gas–induced warming to a more El Niño-like state over the next several decades, with a reduced zonal sea surface temperature gradient and weakened atmospheric Walker circulation. Yet, observations over the last 50 y show the opposite trend, toward a more La Niña-like state. Recent research provides evidence that the discrepancy cannot be dismissed as due to internal variability but rather that the models are incorrectly simulating the equatorial Pacific response to greenhouse gas warming. This implies that projections of regional tropical cyclone activity may be incorrect as well, perhaps even in the direction of change, in ways that can be understood by analogy to historical El Niño and La Niña events: North Pacific tropical cyclone projections will be too active, North Atlantic ones not active enough, for example. Other perils, including severe convective storms and droughts, will also be projected erroneously. While it can be argued that these errors are transient, such that the models’ responses to greenhouse gases may be correct in equilibrium, the transient response is relevant for climate adaptation in the next several decades. Given the urgency of understanding regional patterns of climate risk in the near term, it would be desirable to develop projections that represent a broader range of possible future tropical Pacific warming scenarios—including some in which recent historical trends continue—even if such projections cannot currently be produced using existing coupled earth system models. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 15, 2024
  2. Abstract

    An open‐source, physics‐based tropical cyclone (TC) downscaling model is developed, in order to generate a large climatology of TCs. The model is composed of three primary components: (a) a random seeding process that determines genesis, (b) an intensity‐dependent beta‐advection model that determines the track, and (c) a non‐linear differential equation set that determines the intensification rate. The model is entirely forced by the large‐scale environment. Downscaling ERA5 reanalysis data shows that the model is generally able to reproduce observed TC climatology, such as the global seasonal cycle, genesis locations, track density, and lifetime maximum intensity distributions. Inter‐annual variability in TC count and power‐dissipation is also well captured, on both basin‐wide and global scales. Regional TC hazard estimated by this model is also analyzed using return period maps and curves. In particular, the model is able to reasonably capture the observed return period curves of landfall intensity in various sub‐basins around the globe. The incorporation of an intensity‐dependent steering flow is shown to lead to regionally dependent changes in power dissipation and return periods. Advantages and disadvantages of this model, compared to other downscaling models, are also discussed.

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  3. Abstract Tropical cyclones (TCs) cause devastating damage to life and property. Historical TC data is scarce, complicating adequate TC risk assessments. Synthetic TC models are specifically designed to overcome this scarcity. While these models have been evaluated on their ability to simulate TC activity, no study to date has focused on model performance and applicability in TC risk assessments. This study performs the intercomparison of four different global-scale synthetic TC datasets in the impact space, comparing impact return period curves, probability of rare events, and hazard intensity distribution over land. We find that the model choice influences the costliest events, particularly in basins with limited TC activity. Modelled direct economic damages in the North Indian Ocean, for instance, range from 40 to 246 billion USD for the 100-yr event over the four hazard sets. We furthermore provide guidelines for the suitability of the different synthetic models for various research purposes. 
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  4. Abstract

    Subseasonal tropical cyclone (TC) reforecasts from the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CAM6) subseasonal prediction system are examined in this study. We evaluate the modeled TC climatology and the probabilistic forecast skill of basin‐wide TC genesis at weekly temporal resolution. Prediction skill is calculated using the Brier skill score relative to a constant annual mean climatology and to a monthly varying seasonal climatology during TC season. The model captures the observed basin‐wide climatological TC seasonality and spatial distributions at weeks 1–6, but TC genesis is largely underestimated from Week 2 onward. For some basins and lead times, the predicted TC genesis is primarily controlled by the number of TC “seeds” and the mean‐state climate condition. The model has good prediction skill relative to the constant climatology across all the basins and lead times, but is only skillful in the eastern Pacific, North Indian Ocean, and Southern Hemisphere at Week 1 when compared to the seasonal climatology, indicating limited skill in predicting deviations from the seasonal cycle. We find strong modulations of the predicted TC genesis at up to 3 weeks of forecast lead time by the Madden‐Julian Oscillation. The interannual variability of predicted TC genesis and accumulated cyclone energy are skillfully predicted in the North Atlantic and the Northwestern Pacific, with a strong modulation by the El Nino‐Southern Oscillation.

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  5. Abstract

    The movement of tropical cyclones (TCs), particularly around the time of landfall, can substantially affect the resulting damage. Recently, trends in TC translation speed and the likelihood of stalled TCs such as Harvey have received significant attention, but findings have remained inconclusive. Here, we examine how the June-September steering wind and translation speed of landfalling Texas TCs change in the future under anthropogenic climate change. Using several large-ensemble/multi-model datasets, we find pronounced regional variations in the meridional steering wind response over North America, but―consistently across models―stronger June-September-averaged northward steering winds over Texas. A cluster analysis of daily wind patterns shows more frequent circulation regimes that steer landfalling TCs northward in the future. Downscaling experiments show a 10-percentage-point shift from the slow-moving to the fast-moving end of the translation-speed distribution in the future. Together, these analyses indicate increases in the likelihood of faster-moving landfalling Texas TCs in the late 21stcentury.

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  6. Abstract

    Here we present a machine learning–based wind reconstruction model. The model reconstructs hurricane surface winds with XGBoost, which is a decision-tree-based ensemble predictive algorithm. The model treats the symmetric and asymmetric wind fields separately. The symmetric wind field is approximated by a parametric wind profile model and two Bessel function series. The asymmetric field, accounting for asymmetries induced by the storm and its ambient environment, is represented using a small number of Laplacian eigenfunctions. The coefficients associated with Bessel functions and eigenfunctions are predicted by XGBoost based on storm and environmental features taken from NHC best-track and ERA-Interim data, respectively. We use HWIND for the observed wind fields. Three parametric wind profile models are tested in the symmetric wind model. The wind reconstruction model’s performance is insensitive to the choice of the profile model because the Bessel function series correct biases of the parametric profiles. The mean square error of the reconstructed surface winds is smaller than the climatological variance, indicating skillful reconstruction. Storm center location, eyewall size, and translation speed play important roles in controlling the magnitude of the leading asymmetries, while the phase of the asymmetries is mainly affected by storm translation direction. Vertical wind shear impacts the asymmetry phase to a lesser degree. Intended applications of this model include assessing hurricane risk using synthetic storm event sets generated by statistical–dynamical downscaling hurricane models.

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  7. Abstract

    During the summer of 2016, a boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) event was observed over Southeast Asia and the South China and Philippine seas. Precipitation anomalies associated with this event propagated northward at a speed of 0.5–1° per day from July to August. To understand the mechanisms, a regional atmosphere‐ocean coupled system with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) is used to study this BSISO event. The 50‐day‐long coupled simulations reasonably capture large‐scale northward propagation of the event. Coupled simulations with altered air‐sea interaction and atmosphere‐only simulations with prescribed sea surface temperature illuminate the insignificant role of air‐sea interaction within the computation domain in the northward propagation the for this event. Diagnostics of the coupled simulation as well as the ECMWF‐Interim reanalyses indicate that convection and barotropic vorticity are largely in phase north of 5°N during the event. The BSISO convection is accompanied by moisture anomalies whose magnitudes increase as the BSISO propagates northward. Analysis of the moisture budget shows that positive horizontal advection leads positive moisture anomalies on the intraseasonal time scale north of 10°N. The vorticity‐convection relationship, the lead‐lag relationship between moisture and its horizontal advection, and the latitude dependence of each for this BSISO event are consistent with general features of BSISO events composited with ECWMF‐Interim reanalysis and satellite precipitation data sets.

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