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Publication Date
7 December 2021

Tropical Cyclone Precipitation Response to Surface Warming in Aquaplanet Simulations With Uniform Thermal Forcing



While many modeling studies have attempted to estimate how tropical cyclone (TC) precipitation is impacted by climate change, the multitude of analysis techniques and methodologies have resulted in varying conclusions. Simplified models may be able to help overcome this problem. Radiative-convective equilibrium (RCE) model simulations have been used in various configurations to study fundamental aspects of Earth's climate. While many RCE modeling studies have focused on TC genesis, intensification, and size, limited work has been done using RCE to study TC precipitation. In this study, the response of TC precipitation to sea surface temperature (SST) change is analyzed in global Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) aquaplanet simulations run with Radiative-Convective Equilibrium Model Intercomparison Project protocols, with the addition of planetary rotation. We expect that the insight gained about how TC precipitation responds to SST warming will help predict how TCs in the real world respond to climate change. In the CAM RCE simulations, the warmer SST simulations have less TCs on average, but the TCs tend to be larger in outer size and more intense. As simulation SST increases, more extreme precipitation rates occur within TCs, and more of the TC precipitation comes from these extreme rates. For extreme (99th percentile) TC precipitation, SST, and TC intensity increases dominate the 8.6% per K increase, while TC outer size changes have little impact. For accumulated TC precipitation, SST, and TC intensity contributions are still the majority, but TC outer size changes also contribute to the 6.6% per K increase.

Stansfield, Alyssa M., and Kevin A. Reed. 2021. “Tropical Cyclone Precipitation Response To Surface Warming In Aquaplanet Simulations With Uniform Thermal Forcing”. Journal Of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 126 (24). American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi:10.1029/2021jd035197.
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