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Exploring Inland Tropical Cyclone Rainfall and Tornadoes under Future Climate Conditions through a Case Study of Hurricane Ivan

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  • 1 Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi
  • 2 University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland
  • 3 University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  • 4 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The overarching purpose of this study is to investigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate change both on the rainfall and tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones (TCs) making landfall in the U.S. Atlantic basin. The “pseudo–global warming” (PGW) approach is applied to Hurricane Ivan (2004), a historically prolific tropical cyclone tornado (TCT)-producing storm. Hurricane Ivan is simulated under its current climate forcings using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. This control simulation (CTRL) is then compared with PGW simulations in which the current forcings are modified by climate-change differences obtained from the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (NCAR); Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate, version 5 (MIROC); and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model, version 3 (GFDL). Changes in TC intensity, TC rainfall, and TCT production, identified for the PGW-modified Ivan, are documented and analyzed. Relative to CTRL, all three PGW simulations show an increase in TC intensity and generate substantially more accumulated rainfall over the course of Ivan’s progression over land. However, only one of the TCs under PGW (MIROC) produced more TCTs than CTRL. Evidence is provided that, in addition to favorable environmental conditions, TCT production is related to the TC track length and to the strength of the interaction between the TC and an environmental midlevel trough. Enhanced TCT generation at landfall for MIROC and GFDL is attributed to increased values of convective available potential energy, low-level shear, and storm-relative environmental helicity.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dereka Carroll-Smith, dcarrol6@umd.edu

Abstract

The overarching purpose of this study is to investigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate change both on the rainfall and tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones (TCs) making landfall in the U.S. Atlantic basin. The “pseudo–global warming” (PGW) approach is applied to Hurricane Ivan (2004), a historically prolific tropical cyclone tornado (TCT)-producing storm. Hurricane Ivan is simulated under its current climate forcings using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. This control simulation (CTRL) is then compared with PGW simulations in which the current forcings are modified by climate-change differences obtained from the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (NCAR); Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate, version 5 (MIROC); and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model, version 3 (GFDL). Changes in TC intensity, TC rainfall, and TCT production, identified for the PGW-modified Ivan, are documented and analyzed. Relative to CTRL, all three PGW simulations show an increase in TC intensity and generate substantially more accumulated rainfall over the course of Ivan’s progression over land. However, only one of the TCs under PGW (MIROC) produced more TCTs than CTRL. Evidence is provided that, in addition to favorable environmental conditions, TCT production is related to the TC track length and to the strength of the interaction between the TC and an environmental midlevel trough. Enhanced TCT generation at landfall for MIROC and GFDL is attributed to increased values of convective available potential energy, low-level shear, and storm-relative environmental helicity.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dereka Carroll-Smith, dcarrol6@umd.edu
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