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Changes in the Length of the Season with Favorable Environmental Conditions for Tropical Cyclones in the North Atlantic Basin during the Last 40 Years

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  • 1 aOcean University of China, Qingdao, Shandong, China
  • | 2 bTexas A&M University, College Station, Texas
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Abstract

Analyses of two high-resolution reanalysis products show that high values of hurricane potential intensity (PI) are becoming more frequent and covering a larger area of the Atlantic, which is consistent with the lengthening of the tropical cyclone season previously reported. These changes are especially pronounced during the early months of the storm season (May–July) in subtropical latitudes. The western subtropical Atlantic features increases in mean PI as well as the areal coverage and frequency of high PI throughout the storm season; the length of the season with high PI has grown since 1980. The number of days with low vertical wind shear increases in the tropical North Atlantic during the early and middle months of the storm season, but trends are mixed and generally insignificant elsewhere. A thermodynamic parameter measuring the ratio of midlevel entropy deficits to the strength of surface fluxes that work to eliminate them is sensitive to the choice of the pressure level(s) used to calculate its value in the boundary layer, as well as to subtle differences in temperature and humidity values near the surface in different reanalysis datasets, leading to divergent results in metrics like the ventilation index that depend on its value. Projections from a high-resolution simulation of the remainder of the twenty-first century show that the number of days with high PI is likely to continue increasing in the North Atlantic basin, with trends especially strong in the western subtropical Atlantic during the early and late months of the season.

© 2022 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: Yanjie Wu, wuyanjie@stu.ouc.edu.cn

Abstract

Analyses of two high-resolution reanalysis products show that high values of hurricane potential intensity (PI) are becoming more frequent and covering a larger area of the Atlantic, which is consistent with the lengthening of the tropical cyclone season previously reported. These changes are especially pronounced during the early months of the storm season (May–July) in subtropical latitudes. The western subtropical Atlantic features increases in mean PI as well as the areal coverage and frequency of high PI throughout the storm season; the length of the season with high PI has grown since 1980. The number of days with low vertical wind shear increases in the tropical North Atlantic during the early and middle months of the storm season, but trends are mixed and generally insignificant elsewhere. A thermodynamic parameter measuring the ratio of midlevel entropy deficits to the strength of surface fluxes that work to eliminate them is sensitive to the choice of the pressure level(s) used to calculate its value in the boundary layer, as well as to subtle differences in temperature and humidity values near the surface in different reanalysis datasets, leading to divergent results in metrics like the ventilation index that depend on its value. Projections from a high-resolution simulation of the remainder of the twenty-first century show that the number of days with high PI is likely to continue increasing in the North Atlantic basin, with trends especially strong in the western subtropical Atlantic during the early and late months of the season.

© 2022 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: Yanjie Wu, wuyanjie@stu.ouc.edu.cn

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