A multimodel assessment of future projections of North Atlantic and European extratropical cyclones in the CMIP5 climate models
Zappa, G., Shaffrey, L. C., Hodges, K. I., Sansom, P. G. and Stephenson, D. B. (2013) A multimodel assessment of future projections of North Atlantic and European extratropical cyclones in the CMIP5 climate models. Journal of Climate, 26 (16). pp. 5846-5862. ISSN 1520-0442
To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00573.1
The response of North Atlantic and European extratropical cyclones to climate change is investigated in the climate models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). In contrast to previous multimodel studies, a feature-tracking algorithm is here applied to separately quantify the re- sponses in the number, the wind intensity, and the precipitation intensity of extratropical cyclones. Moreover, a statistical framework is employed to formally assess the uncertainties in the multimodel projections. Under the midrange representative concentration pathway (RCP4.5) emission scenario, the December–February (DJF) response is characterized by a tripolar pattern over Europe, with an increase in the number of cyclones in central Europe and a decreased number in the Norwegian and Mediterranean Seas. The June–August (JJA) response is characterized by a reduction in the number of North Atlantic cyclones along the southern flank of the storm track. The total number of cyclones decreases in both DJF (24%) and JJA (22%). Classifying cyclones according to their intensity indicates a slight basinwide reduction in the number of cy- clones associated with strong winds, but an increase in those associated with strong precipitation. However, in DJF, a slight increase in the number and intensity of cyclones associated with strong wind speeds is found over the United Kingdom and central Europe. The results are confirmed under the high-emission RCP8.5 scenario, where the signals tend to be larger. The sources of uncertainty in these projections are discussed.