Historical evaluation and future prediction of eastern North American and Western Atlantic extratropical cyclones in the CMIP5 models during the cool season

Brian A. Colle, Zhenhai Zhang, Kelly A. Lombardo, Edmund Chang, Ping Liu, Minghua Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

Extratropical cyclone track density, genesis frequency, deepening rate, and maximum intensity distributions over eastern North America and the western North Atlantic were analyzed for 15 models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) for the historical period (1979-2004) and three future periods (2009-38, 2039-68, and 2069-98). The cyclones were identified using an automated tracking algorithm applied to sea level pressure every 6 h. The CMIP5 results for the historical period were evaluated using the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR). The CMIP5 models were ranked given their track density, intensity, and overall performance for the historical period. It was found that six of the top seven CMIP5 models with the highest spatial resolution were ranked the best overall. These models had less underprediction of cyclone track density, more realistic distribution of intense cyclones along the U.S. East Coast, and more realistic cyclogenesis and deepening rates. The best seven models were used to determine projected future changes in cyclones, which included a 10%-30% decrease in cyclone track density and weakening of cyclones over the western Atlantic storm track, while in contrast there is a 10%-20% increase in cyclone track density over the eastern United States, including 10%-40% more intense (<980 hPa) cyclones and 20%-40% more rapid deepening rates just inland of the U.S. East Coast. Some of the reasons for these CMIP5 model differences were explored for the selected models based on model generated Eady growth rate, upper-level jet, surface baroclinicity, and precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6882-6903
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume26
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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