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Enrico Scoccimarro and Silvio Gualdi

Abstract

Heavy precipitation is often the trigger for flooding and landslides, leading to significant societal and economic impacts, ranging from fatalities to damage to infrastructure to loss of crops and livestock. Therefore, it is critical that we have a better understanding of how it may be changing in the future. Based on model projections from phases 3 and 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3 and CMIP5), future daily precipitation is likely to increase in intensity. The main goal of this study is to examine possible improvements in the representation of intense and extreme precipitation by a new set of climate models contributing to phase 6 of CMIP effort (CMIP6) and to quantify its projected changes under the highest emissions scenario by the end of the current century [i.e., Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) SSP5-8.5]. Daily precipitation data from six CMIP6 models were analyzed that have a nominal horizontal grid spacing around 100 km and provide data for the highest emissions scenario SSP5-8.5. Two of the six CMIP6 models overestimate the extreme precipitation (defined as the 99th percentile of the precipitation distribution) in the tropics, leading to large biases in the right tail of the daily precipitation over the tropics. Consistent with the CMIP5 results, the CMIP6 models projected increased heavy daily precipitation and increased width of the right tail of the precipitation distribution associated with increased water vapor content.

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Enrico Scoccimarro, Silvio Gualdi, Alessio Bellucci, Matteo Zampieri, and Antonio Navarra

Abstract

In this work, the authors investigate possible changes in the distribution of heavy precipitation events under a warmer climate, using the results of a set of 20 climate models taking part in phase 5 of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Future changes are evaluated as the difference between the last four decades of the twenty-first century and the twentieth century, assuming the representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario. As a measure of the width of the right tail of the precipitation distribution, the authors use the difference between the 99th and the 90th percentiles. Despite a slight tendency to underestimate the observed heavy precipitation, the considered CMIP5 models well represent the observed patterns in terms of the ensemble average, during both boreal summer and winter seasons for the 1997–2005 period. Future changes in average precipitation are consistent with previous findings based on models from phase 3 of CMIP (CMIP3). CMIP5 models show a projected increase for the end of the twenty-first century of the width of the right tail of the precipitation distribution, particularly pronounced over India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and central Africa during boreal summer, as well as over South America and southern Africa during boreal winter.

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Andrea Alessandri, Andrea Borrelli, Silvio Gualdi, Enrico Scoccimarro, and Simona Masina

Abstract

This study investigates the predictability of tropical cyclone (TC) seasonal count anomalies using the Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici–Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (CMCC-INGV) Seasonal Prediction System (SPS). To this aim, nine-member ensemble forecasts for the period 1992–2001 for two starting dates per year were performed. The skill in reproducing the observed TC counts has been evaluated after the application of a TC location and tracking detection method to the retrospective forecasts. The SPS displays good skill in predicting the observed TC count anomalies, particularly over the tropical Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The simulated TC activity exhibits realistic geographical distribution and interannual variability, thus indicating that the model is able to reproduce the major basic mechanisms that link the TCs’ occurrence with the large-scale circulation. TC count anomalies prediction has been found to be sensitive to the subsurface assimilation in the ocean for initialization. Comparing the results with control simulations performed without assimilated initial conditions, the results indicate that the assimilation significantly improves the prediction of the TC count anomalies over the eastern North Pacific Ocean (ENP) and northern Indian Ocean (NI) during boreal summer. During the austral counterpart, significant progresses over the area surrounding Australia (AUS) and in terms of the probabilistic quality of the predictions also over the southern Indian Ocean (SI) were evidenced. The analysis shows that the improvement in the prediction of anomalous TC counts follows the enhancement in forecasting daily anomalies in sea surface temperature due to subsurface ocean initialization. Furthermore, the skill changes appear to be in part related to forecast differences in convective available potential energy (CAPE) over the ENP and the North Atlantic Ocean (ATL), in wind shear over the NI, and in both CAPE and wind shear over the SI.

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Enrico Scoccimarro, Pier Giuseppe Fogli, Kevin A. Reed, Silvio Gualdi, Simona Masina, and Antonio Navarra

Abstract

Through tropical cyclone (TC) activity the ocean and the atmosphere exchange a large amount of energy. In this work possible improvements introduced by a higher coupling frequency are tested between the two components of a climate model in the representation of TC intensity and TC–ocean feedbacks. The analysis is based on the new Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per I Cambiamenti Climatici Climate Model (CMCC-CM2-VHR), capable of representing realistic TCs up to category-5 storms. A significant role of the negative sea surface temperature (SST) feedback, leading to a weakening of the cyclone intensity, is made apparent by the improved representation of high-frequency coupled processes. The first part of this study demonstrates that a more realistic representation of strong TC count is obtained by coupling atmosphere and ocean components at hourly instead of daily frequency. Coherently, the positive bias of the annually averaged power dissipation index associated with TCs is reduced by one order of magnitude when coupling at the hourly frequency, compared to both forced mode and daily coupling frequency results. The second part of this work shows a case study (a modeled category-5 typhoon) analysis to verify the impact of a more realistic representation of the high-frequency coupling in representing the TC effect on the ocean; the theoretical subsurface warming induced by TCs is well represented when coupling the two components at the higher frequency. This work demonstrates that an increased horizontal resolution of model components is not sufficient to ensure a realistic representation of intense and fast-moving systems, such as tropical and extratropical cyclones, but a concurrent increase in coupling frequency is required.

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Enrico Scoccimarro, Gabriele Villarini, Marcello Vichi, Matteo Zampieri, Pier Giuseppe Fogli, Alessio Bellucci, and Silvio Gualdi

Abstract

Heavy precipitation is a major hazard over Europe. It is well established that climate model projections indicate a tendency toward more extreme daily rainfall events. It is still uncertain, however, how this changing intensity translates at the subdaily time scales. The main goal of the present study is to examine possible differences in projected changes in intense precipitation events over Europe at the daily and subdaily (3-hourly) time scales using a state-of-the-science climate model. The focus will be on one representative concentration pathway (RCP8.5), considered as illustrative of a high rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations over this century. There are statistically significant differences in intense precipitation projections (up to 40%) when comparing the results at the daily and subdaily time scales. Over northeastern Europe, projected precipitation intensification at the 3-hourly scale is lower than at the daily scale. On the other hand, Spain and the western seaboard exhibit an opposite behavior, with stronger intensification at the 3-hourly scale rather than the daily scale. While the mean properties of the precipitation distributions are independent of the analyzed frequency, projected precipitation intensification exhibits regional differences. This finding has implications for the extrapolation of impacts of intense precipitation events, given the daily time scale at which the analyses are usually performed.

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Anne Schindler, Andrea Toreti, Matteo Zampieri, Enrico Scoccimarro, Silvio Gualdi, Sophie Fukutome, Elena Xoplaki, and Jürg Luterbacher

Abstract

Climate model simulations are currently the main tool to provide information about possible future climates. Apart from scenario uncertainties and model error, internal variability is a major source of uncertainty, complicating predictions of future changes. Here, a suite of statistical tests is proposed to determine the shortest time window necessary to capture the internal precipitation variability in a stationary climate. The length of this shortest window thus expresses internal variability in terms of years. The method is applied globally to daily precipitation in a 200-yr preindustrial climate simulation with the CMCC-CM coupled general circulation model. The two-sample Cramér–von Mises test is used to assess differences in precipitation distribution, the Walker test accounts for multiple testing at grid cell level, and field significance is determined by calculating the Bejamini–Hochberg false-discovery rate. Results for the investigated simulation show that internal variability of daily precipitation is regionally and seasonally dependent and that regions requiring long time windows do not necessarily coincide with areas with large standard deviation. The estimated time scales are longer over sea than over land, in the tropics than in midlatitudes, and in the transitional seasons than in winter and summer. For many land grid cells, 30 seasons suffice to capture the internal variability of daily precipitation. There exist regions, however, where even 50 years do not suffice to sample the internal variability. The results show that diagnosing daily precipitation change at different times based on fixed global snapshots of one climate simulation might not be a robust detection method.

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Enrico Scoccimarro, Silvio Gualdi, Gabriele Villarini, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Ming Zhao, Kevin Walsh, and Antonio Navarra

Abstract

In this work the authors investigate possible changes in the intensity of rainfall events associated with tropical cyclones (TCs) under idealized forcing scenarios, including a uniformly warmer climate, with a special focus on landfalling storms. A new set of experiments designed within the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) Hurricane Working Group allows disentangling the relative role of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide from that played by sea surface temperature (SST) in changing the amount of precipitation associated with TCs in a warmer world. Compared to the present-day simulation, an increase in TC precipitation was found under the scenarios involving SST increases. On the other hand, in a CO2-doubling-only scenario, the changes in TC rainfall are small and it was found that, on average, TC rainfall tends to decrease compared to the present-day climate. The results of this study highlight the contribution of landfalling TCs to the projected increase in the precipitation changes affecting the tropical coastal regions.

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Enrico Scoccimarro, Silvio Gualdi, Alessio Bellucci, Antonella Sanna, Pier Giuseppe Fogli, Elisa Manzini, Marcello Vichi, Paolo Oddo, and Antonio Navarra

Abstract

In this paper the interplay between tropical cyclones (TCs) and the Northern Hemispheric ocean heat transport (OHT) is investigated. In particular, results from a numerical simulation of the twentieth-century and twenty-first-century climates, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) twentieth-century run (20C3M) and A1B scenario protocols, respectively, have been analyzed. The numerical simulations have been performed using a state-of-the-art global atmosphere–ocean–sea ice coupled general circulation model (CGCM) with relatively high-resolution (T159) in the atmosphere. The CGCM skill in reproducing a realistic TC climatology has been assessed by comparing the model results from the simulation of the twentieth century with available observations. The model simulates tropical cyclone–like vortices with many features similar to the observed TCs. Specifically, the simulated TCs exhibit realistic structure, geographical distribution, and interannual variability, indicating that the model is able to capture the basic mechanisms linking the TC activity with the large-scale circulation. The cooling of the surface ocean observed in correspondence of the TCs is well simulated by the model. TC activity is shown to significantly increase the poleward OHT out of the tropics and decrease the poleward OHT from the deep tropics on short time scales. This effect, investigated by looking at the 100 most intense Northern Hemisphere TCs, is strongly correlated with the TC-induced momentum flux at the ocean surface, where the winds associated with the TCs significantly weaken (strengthen) the trade winds in the 5°–18°N (18°–30°N) latitude belt. However, the induced perturbation does not impact the yearly averaged OHT. The frequency and intensity of the TCs appear to be substantially stationary through the entire 1950–2069 simulated period, as does the effect of the TCs on the OHT.

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Benoît Vannière, Malcolm Roberts, Pier Luigi Vidale, Kevin Hodges, Marie-Estelle Demory, Louis-Philippe Caron, Enrico Scoccimarro, Laurent Terray, and Retish Senan

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that the number, intensity, and structure of simulated tropical cyclones (TCs) in climate models get closer to the observations as the horizontal resolution is increased. However, the sensitivity of tropical cyclone precipitation and moisture budget to changes in resolution has received less attention. In this study, we use the five-model ensemble from project PRIMAVERA/HighResMIP to investigate the systematic changes of the water budget of tropical cyclones in a range of horizontal resolutions from 1° to 0.25°. Our results show that, despite a large change in the distribution of TC intensity with resolution, the distribution of precipitation per TC (i.e., averaged in a 5° radial cap) does not change significantly. This result is explained by the fact that low- and high-resolution models represent equally well the large-scale balance that characterizes the moisture budget of TCs, with the radius of the moisture source extending to ~15° from the center of the TC (i.e. well beyond the TC edge). The wind profile is found to converge in the low and high resolutions for radii > 5°, resulting in a moisture flux convergence into the TC of similar magnitude at low and high resolutions. In contrast to precipitation per TC, TC intensity does increase at higher resolution and this is explained by the larger surface latent heat flux near the center of the storm, which leads to an increase in equivalent potential temperature and warmer core anomalies, although this extra latent heat represents a negligible contribution to the overall moisture budget. We discuss the complication arising from the choice of the tracking algorithm when assessing the impact of model resolution.

Open access
Michael Horn, Kevin Walsh, Ming Zhao, Suzana J. Camargo, Enrico Scoccimarro, Hiroyuki Murakami, Hui Wang, Andrew Ballinger, Arun Kumar, Daniel A. Shaevitz, Jeffrey A. Jonas, and Kazuyoshi Oouchi

Abstract

Future tropical cyclone activity is a topic of great scientific and societal interest. In the absence of a climate theory of tropical cyclogenesis, general circulation models are the primary tool available for investigating the issue. However, the identification of tropical cyclones in model data at moderate resolution is complex, and numerous schemes have been developed for their detection.

The influence of different tracking schemes on detected tropical cyclone activity and responses in the Hurricane Working Group experiments is examined herein. These are idealized atmospheric general circulation model experiments aimed at determining and distinguishing the effects of increased sea surface temperature and other increased CO2 effects on tropical cyclone activity. Two tracking schemes are applied to these data and the tracks provided by each modeling group are analyzed.

The results herein indicate moderate agreement between the different tracking methods, with some models and experiments showing better agreement across schemes than others. When comparing responses between experiments, it is found that much of the disagreement between schemes is due to differences in duration, wind speed, and formation-latitude thresholds. After homogenization in these thresholds, agreement between different tracking methods is improved. However, much disagreement remains, accountable for by more fundamental differences between the tracking schemes. The results indicate that sensitivity testing and selection of objective thresholds are the key factors in obtaining meaningful, reproducible results when tracking tropical cyclones in climate model data at these resolutions, but that more fundamental differences between tracking methods can also have a significant impact on the responses in activity detected.

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