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Seth P. Howard, Alison P. Boehmer, Kevin M. Simmons, and Kim E. Klockow-Mcclain

Abstract

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storm and annually cause billions of dollars in damage along with the threat of fatalities and injuries. To improve tornado warnings, the National Weather Service is considering a change from a deterministic to a probabilistic paradigm. While studies have been conducted on how individual behavior may change with the new warnings, no study of which we are aware has considered the effect this change may have on businesses. This project is a response to the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, House of Representatives (H.R.) bill 353, which calls for the use of social and behavioral science to study and improve storm warning systems. The goal is to discuss business response to probabilistic tornado warnings through descriptive and regression-based statistics using a survey administered to businesses in north Texas. Prior to release, the survey was vetted by a focus group composed of businesses in Grayson County, Texas, who assisted in the creation of a behavior ranking scale. The scale ranked behaviors from low to high effort. Responses allowed for determining whether the business reacted to the warning in a passive or active manner. Returned surveys came from large and small businesses in north Texas and represent a wide variety of industries. Regression analysis explores which variables have the greatest influence on the behavior of businesses and show that, beyond increases in probability from the probabilistic warnings, trust in the warning provides the most significant change to behavior.

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Xingchao Chen, L. Ruby Leung, Zhe Feng, and Fengfei Song

Abstract

Convective vertical transport is critical in the monsoonal overturning, but the relative roles of different convective systems are not well understood. This study used a cloud classification and tracking technique to decompose a convection-permitting simulation of the South Asian summer monsoon (SASM) into subregimes of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), non-MCS deep convection (non-MCS), congestus, and shallow convection/clear sky. Isentropic analysis is adopted to quantify the contributions of different convective systems to the total SASM vertical mass, water, and energy transports. The results underscore the crucial roles of MCSs in the SASM vertical transports. Compared to non-MCSs, the total mass and energy transports by MCSs are at least 1.5 times stronger throughout the troposphere, with a larger contributing fraction from convective updrafts compared to upward motion in stratiform regions. Occurrence frequency of non-MCSs is around 40 times higher than that of MCSs. However, per instantaneous convection features, the vertical transports and net moist static energy (MSE) exported by MCSs are about 70–100 and 58 times stronger than that of non-MCSs. While these differences are dominantly contributed by differences in the per-feature MCS and non-MCS area coverage, MCSs also show stronger transport intensities than non-MCSs over both ocean and land. Oceanic MCSs and non-MCSs show more obvious top-heavy structures than their inland counterparts, which are closely related to the widespread stratiform over ocean. Compared to the monsoon break phase, MCSs occur more frequently (~1.6 times) but their vertical transport intensity slightly weakens (by ~10%) during the active phases. These results are useful for understanding the SASM and advancing the energetic framework.

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Robin Clancy, Cecilia M. Bitz, Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, Marie C. McGraw, and Steven M. Cavallo

Abstract

Arctic cyclones are an extremely common, year-round phenomenon, with substantial influence on sea ice. However, few studies address the heterogeneity in the spatial patterns in the atmosphere and sea ice during Arctic cyclones. We investigate these spatial patterns by compositing on cyclones from 1985 to 2016 using a novel, cyclone-centered approach that reveals conditions as functions of bearing and distance from cyclone centers. An axisymmetric, cold-core model for the structure of Arctic cyclones has previously been proposed; however, we show that the structure of Arctic cyclones is comparable to those in the midlatitudes, with cyclonic surface winds, a warm, moist sector to the east of cyclones and a cold, dry sector to the west. There is no consensus on the impact of Arctic cyclones on sea ice, as some studies have shown that Arctic cyclones lead to sea ice growth and others to sea ice loss. Instead, we find that sea ice decreases to the east of Arctic cyclones and increases to the west, with the greatest changes occurring in the marginal ice zone. Using a sea ice model forced with prescribed atmospheric reanalysis, we reveal the relative importance of the dynamic and thermodynamic forcing of Arctic cyclones on sea ice. The dynamic and thermodynamic responses of sea ice concentration to cyclones are comparable in magnitude; however, dynamic processes dominate the response of sea ice thickness and are the primary driver of the east–west difference in the sea ice response to cyclones.

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Eric C. Jones, Corinne Ong, and Jessica Haynes

Abstract

Climate change is an increasingly pressing concern because it generates individual and societal vulnerability in many places in the world and also because it potentially threatens political stability. Aside from sea level rise, climate change is typically manifested in local temperature and precipitation extremes that generate other hazards. In this study, we investigated whether certain kinds of governance strategies were more common in societies whose food supply had been threatened by such natural hazards—specifically, floods, droughts, and locust infestations. We coded and analyzed ethnographic data from the Human Relations Area Files on 26 societies regarding dominant political, economic, and ideological behaviors of leaders in each society for a specified time period. Leaders in societies experiencing food-destroying disasters used different political economic strategies for maintaining power than did leaders in societies that face fewer disasters or that did not face such disasters. In nondisaster settings, leaders were more likely to have inward-focused cosmological and collectivistic strategies; conversely, when a society had experienced food-destroying disasters, leaders were more likely to have exclusionary tribal/family-based and externally focused strategies. This apparent difficulty in maintaining order and coherence of leadership in disaster settings may apply more to politically complex societies than to polities governed solely at the community level. Alternatively, it could be that exclusionary leaders help set up the conditions for disastrous consequences of hazards for the populace. Exceptions to the pattern of exclusionary political economic strategies in disaster settings indicate that workarounds do exist that allow leaders with corporate governance approaches to stay in power.

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Ranjini Swaminathan, Robert J. Parker, Colin G. Jones, Richard P. Allan, Tristan Quaife, Douglas I. Kelley, Lee de Mora, and Jeremy Walton

Abstract

A key goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement is to keep global mean temperature change at 2°C and if possible under 1.5°C by the end of the century. To investigate the likelihood of achieving this target, we calculate the year of exceedance of a given global warming threshold (GWT) temperature across 32 CMIP6 models for Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) and radiative forcing combinations included in the Tier 1 ScenarioMIP simulations. Threshold exceedance year calculations reveal that a majority of CMIP6 models project warming beyond 2°C by the end of the century under every scenario or pathway apart from the lowest emission scenarios considered, SSP1–1.9 and SSP1–2.6, which is largely a function of the ScenarioMIP experiment design. The U.K. Earth System Model (UKESM1) ScenarioMIP projections are analyzed in detail to assess the regional and seasonal variations in climate at different warming levels. The warming signal emerging by midcentury is identified as significant and distinct from internal climate variability in all scenarios considered and includes warming summers in the Mediterranean, drying in the Amazon, and heavier Indian monsoons. Arctic sea ice depletion results in prominent amplification of warming and tropical warming patterns emerge that are distinct from interannual variability. Climate changes projected for a 2°C warmer world are in almost all cases exacerbated with further global warming (e.g., to a 4°C warmer world).

Open access
Maria J. Molina, Aixue Hu, and Gerald A. Meehl

Abstract

Consequences from a slowdown or collapse of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) could include modulations to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and development of the Pacific meridional overturning circulation (PMOC). Despite potential ramifications to the global climate, our understanding of the influence of various AMOC and PMOC states on ENSO and global sea surface temperatures (SSTs) remains limited. Five multicentennial, fully coupled model simulations created with the Community Earth System Model were used to explore the influence of AMOC and PMOC on global SSTs and ENSO. We found that the amplitude of annual cycle SSTs across the tropical Pacific decreases and ENSO amplitude increases as a result of an AMOC shutdown, irrespective of PMOC development. However, active deep overturning circulations in both the Atlantic and Pacific basins reduce ENSO amplitude and variance of monthly SSTs globally. The underlying physical reasons for changes to global SSTs and ENSO are also discussed, with the atmospheric and oceanic mechanisms that drive changes to ENSO amplitude differing based on PMOC state. These results suggest that if climate simulations projecting AMOC weakening are realized, compounding climate impacts could occur given the far-reaching ENSO teleconnections to extreme weather and climate events. More broadly, these results provide us with insight into past geologic era climate states, when PMOC was active.

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Wenyu Zhou, L. Ruby Leung, and Jian Lu

Abstract

This study investigates the responses of the hydroclimate and extremes in the U.S. Midwest to global warming, based on ensemble projections of phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project and the multimodel initial-condition large-ensemble simulations. The precipitation response features a seasonally dependent change with increased precipitation in April–May but reduced precipitation in July–August. The late-spring wetting is attributed to the enhanced low-level moisture-transporting southerlies, which are induced by regional sea level pressure anomalies linked to the poleward shift of the North American westerly jet (NAWJ). The late-summer drying is attributed to the weakened storm track, which is also linked to the poleward NAWJ shift. The seasonally dependent future changes of the Midwest precipitation are analogous to its climatological seasonal progression, which increases over late spring as the NAWJ approaches the Midwest and decreases over late summer as the NAWJ migrates away. In response to the mean precipitation changes, extremely wet late springs (April–May precipitation above the 99th percentile of the historical period) and extremely dry late summers (below the 1st percentile) will occur much more frequently, implying increased late-spring floods and late-summer droughts. Future warming in the Midwest is amplified in late summer due to the reduced precipitation. With amplified background warming and increased occurrence, future late-summer droughts will be more devastating. Our results highlight that, under a time-invariant poleward jet shift, opposite precipitation changes arise before and after the peak rainy month, leading to substantial increases in the subseasonal extremes. The severity of such climate impacts is obscured in projections of the rainy-season mean.

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Michael K. Ndegwa, Apurba Shee, Calum Turvey, and Liangzhi You

Abstract

Weather index insurance (WII) has been a promising innovation that protects smallholder farmers against drought risks and provides resilience against adverse rainfall conditions. However, the uptake of WII has been hampered by high spatial and intraseasonal basis risk. To minimize intraseasonal basis risk, the standard approaches to designing WII based on seasonal cumulative rainfall have been shown to be ineffective in some cases because they do not incorporate different water requirements across each phenological stage of crop growth. One of the challenges in incorporating crop phenology in insurance design is to determine the water requirement in crop growth stages. Borrowing from agronomy, crop science, and agrometeorology, we adopt evapotranspiration methods in determining water requirements for a crop to survive in each stage that can be used as a trigger level for a WII product. Using daily rainfall and evapotranspiration data, we illustrate the use of Monte Carlo risk modeling to price an operational WII and WII-linked credit product. The risk modeling approach that we develop includes incorporation of correlation between rainfall and evapotranspiration indices that can minimize significant intertemporal basis risk in WII.

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Jorge López-Parages and Laurent Terray

Abstract

In this study, the ENSO teleconnection with the tropical North Atlantic (TNA) sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in boreal spring is analyzed in ocean–atmosphere coupled global circulation models. To assess the role played by horizontal resolution of models on this teleconnection, we used a multimodel dataset that is the first to combine models with both low and high resolution. The TNA response to ENSO projects onto the most significant SST mode of the tropical Atlantic at interannual time scales, the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM). Its evolution is primarily driven by the wind–evaporation–SST (WES) feedback, which in turn is based on the development of an initial SST gradient. This study examines and quantifies the relative contribution of a dynamic-related (upwelling) and a thermodynamic-related (evaporation) process in triggering this gradient in the case of the ENSO–TNA teleconnection. While no major contribution is found with the evaporation, a consistent contribution from the coastal upwelling off northwest Africa is identified. This contribution is enhanced in high-resolution models and highlights the close link between the upwelling in winter and the development of the AMM in spring. It is further shown that high-resolution models present a thinner and more realistic ocean mixed layer within the upwelling area, which enhances the effect of surface winds on upwelling and SSTs. As a consequence, high-resolution models are more sensitive than low-resolution models to surface wind errors, thereby they do not ensure improved reliability or predictability of the TNA SST response to ENSO.

Open access
Christine D. Miller Hesed, Michael Paolisso, Elizabeth R. Van Dolah, and Katherine J. Johnson

Abstract

Climate adaptation is context specific, and inclusion of diverse forms of knowledge is crucial for developing resilient social–ecological systems. Emphasis on local inclusion is increasing, yet participatory approaches often fall short of facilitating meaningful engagement of diverse forms of knowledge. A central challenge is the lack of a comprehensive and comparative understanding of the social–ecological knowledge that various stakeholders use to inform adaptation decisions. We employed cultural consensus analysis to quantitatively measure and compare social–ecological knowledge within and across three stakeholder groups: government employees, researchers, and local residents in rural coastal Maryland. The results show that 1) local residents placed more emphasis on addressing socioeconomic and cultural changes than researchers and government employees, and 2) that the greatest variation in social–ecological knowledge was found among local residents. These insights yielded by cultural consensus analysis are beneficial for facilitating more inclusive adaptation planning for resilient social–ecological systems.

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