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Tropical Cyclone Activity as Expressed in CMIP5 Models

Reference
Camargo, S.J. 2013. Global and regional aspects of tropical cyclone activity in the CMIP5 models. Journal of Climate 26: 9880-9902.
Camargo (2013) writes that "there is a huge interest in the potential change of tropical cyclone [TC] behavior with global warming due to the large impacts of TCs on coastal communities around the world." And, therefore she goes on to examine the ability of fourteen models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) "to simulate TC-like storms and determine whether the models show robust global and regional responses to warming," while further analyzing "changes in large-scale environmental variables associated with TCs."

Results indicate that (1) "the simulation of TC activity in the CMIP5 models is not as good as in higher-resolution simulations," that (2) "the CMIP5 global TC frequency is much lower than observed," that (3) "there is significant deficiency in the geographical patterns of TC tracks and formation," that (4) "the models present a wide range of global TC frequency," that (5) "a cold SST [sea surface temperature] bias could potentially contribute to the low number of TCs in the models," that (6) "the models show no consensus regarding the difference of TC activity in two warming scenarios and the historical simulation," and that (7) "there is no robust signal across the CMIP5 models in global and regional TC changes in activity for future scenarios."

After many years of trying to mathematically simulate the many important aspects of global climate change, the climate modeling community has yet to produce a realistic replica of associated changes in real-world TC characteristics and behaviors.

Archived 15 April 2014