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Publication Date
1 January 2023

Impact of Tropical Cyclone Wind Forcing on the Global Climate in a Fully Coupled Climate Model



Tropical cyclones (TCs) alter upper-ocean temperature and influence ocean heat content via enhanced turbulent mixing. A better understanding of the role of TCs within the climate system requires a fully coupled modeling framework, where TC-induced ocean responses feed back to the atmosphere and subsequently to the climate mean state and variability. Here, we investigate the impacts of TC wind forcing on the global ocean and the associated feedbacks within the climate system using the fully coupled Community Earth System Model version 1.3 (CESM1.3). Using the low-resolution version of CESM1.3 (1° atmosphere and ocean grid spacing) with no intrinsic TCs, we conduct a suite of sensitivity experiments by inserting TC winds extracted from a high-resolution (0.25° atmosphere grid spacing) TC-permitting simulation into the low-resolution model. Results from the low-resolution TC experiment are compared to a low-resolution control simulation to diagnose TCs’ impact. We found that the added TC winds can increase ocean heat content by affecting ocean vertical mixing, air–sea enthalpy fluxes, and cloud amount. The added TCs can influence mean SST, precipitation, ocean subsurface temperature, and ocean mixed layer depth. We found a strengthening of the wind-driven subtropical cells and a weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation due to the changes of surface buoyancy fluxes. TCs in the model cause anomalous equatorward ocean heat convergence in the deep tropics and an increase of poleward ocean heat transport out of the subtropics. Our modeling results provide new insights into the multiscale interactions between TCs and the coupled climate system.

Li, Hui, Aixue Hu, Gerald A. Meehl, Nan A Rosenbloom, and Warren G. Strand. 2023. “Impact Of Tropical Cyclone Wind Forcing On The Global Climate In A Fully Coupled Climate Model”. Journal Of Climate 36 (1). American Meteorological Society: 111-129. doi:10.1175/jcli-d-22-0211.1.
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