This study analyzed the contribution of cyclones to projected changes in cool season (1 November-31 March) precipitation over the eastern United States and western North Atlantic Ocean. First, global climate model simulations from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) were compared to Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) and Climate Prediction Center (CPC) precipitation analyses for the period 1979-2004. The CMIP5 ensemble mean realistically reproduced the historical distribution of regional precipitation with no discernable effect because of model spatial resolution. Subsequently, the projected changes in precipitation on cyclone and noncyclone days under the representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario were quantified. While precipitation on both types of days was projected to increase, the increase on noncyclone days (23%) was greater than the increase on cyclone days (12%). The increase in precipitation on cyclone days occurred despite a decrease in the number of cyclone days. This increase can be attributed primarily to a shift toward more frequent extreme precipitation events coupled with a decline in light precipitation events.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science