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CR 36:1-16 (2008)  -  DOI:

Regional climate model simulations of North Atlantic cyclones: frequency and intensity changes

Tido Semmler1,*, Saji Varghese2, Ray McGrath1, Paul Nolan3, Shiyu Wang1, Peter Lynch3, Colin O’Dowd2

1Met Eireann, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9, Ireland
2National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
3University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

ABSTRACT: Frequency and intensity of cyclones over the North Atlantic are investigated using 2 data sets from simulations with the Rossby Centre regional climate model RCA3. The model domain comprises large parts of the North Atlantic and the adjacent continents. RCA3 is driven by ECHAM5-OM1 general circulation model data for May to December from 1985 to 2000 and May to December from 2085 to 2100 assuming the SRES-A2 emission scenario. We apply an objective algorithm to identify and track tropical and extratropical cyclones, as well as extratropical transition. The simulation indicates increase in the count of strong hurricanes and extratropical cyclones. Contrasting, and generally weaker, changes are seen for the less extreme events. Decreases of 18% in the count of extratropical cyclones and 13% in the count of tropical cyclones with wind speeds of ≥18 m s-1 can be found. Furthermore, there is a pronounced shift in the tracks of hurricanes and their extratropical transition in November and December—more hurricanes are seen over the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the western Sargasso Sea and less over the southern North Atlantic.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Tropical cyclone · Extratropical cyclone · Regional climate model · North Atlantic · Sea surface temperature · Static stability

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Cite this article as: Semmler T, Varghese S, McGrath R, Nolan P, Wang S, Lynch P, O’Dowd C (2008) Regional climate model simulations of North Atlantic cyclones: frequency and intensity changes. Clim Res 36:1-16.

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