A Numerical Exploration of the Sensitivity of Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Intensity to Sea Surf@ace Temperature

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  • 1 Water and Climate Program, CSIRO Division of atmospheric Research, Mordialloc, Victoria
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Abstract

It is commonly accepted that there is a monotonically increasing relationship between sea surface temperature (SST) and tropical cyclone intensity (as measured by maximum near-surface winds or minimum central pressure). This perceived relationship has been used to extrapolate the effects of climatologically warmer SSTs on tropical cyclones These warmer SSTs are one of the consequences of doubled C02 predicted by climate general circulation models (GCMs). Very few investigations have actually critically addressed this SST-storm intensity relationship, however. In this paper, a limited area modeling study is used to explore the potential links between SST and tropical cyclone intensity. Previous work, including some observational data, is reviewed and its implications for the interpretation of the results given here is presented. Finally, the implications of the changes in SST on the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere-in particular, the destabilization of the boundary layer-are identified as another possible mechanism of intensification for these modeled storms.

Abstract

It is commonly accepted that there is a monotonically increasing relationship between sea surface temperature (SST) and tropical cyclone intensity (as measured by maximum near-surface winds or minimum central pressure). This perceived relationship has been used to extrapolate the effects of climatologically warmer SSTs on tropical cyclones These warmer SSTs are one of the consequences of doubled C02 predicted by climate general circulation models (GCMs). Very few investigations have actually critically addressed this SST-storm intensity relationship, however. In this paper, a limited area modeling study is used to explore the potential links between SST and tropical cyclone intensity. Previous work, including some observational data, is reviewed and its implications for the interpretation of the results given here is presented. Finally, the implications of the changes in SST on the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere-in particular, the destabilization of the boundary layer-are identified as another possible mechanism of intensification for these modeled storms.

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