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Poleward intensification of midlatitude extreme winds under warmer climate

Gentile, E. S., Zhao, M. and Hodges, K. (2023) Poleward intensification of midlatitude extreme winds under warmer climate. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, 6 (1). 219. ISSN 2397-3722

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41612-023-00540-x


Extreme wind speeds associated with midlatitude cyclones pose a hazard tolives, businesses and infrastructure, and thus changes in their pattern and mag-nitude have important implications under human-induced global climate change.Here, we systematically explore, at a global scale, the contribution of midlatitudecyclones to extreme wind speed events occurring in both the Northern Hemi-sphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH) under a present and an idealisedglobal warming scenario with a homogeneous SST increase of 2 K. Using theNOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory’s new high-resolution globalclimate model, we find that extreme near-surface wind speeds intensify by upto 3% K−1towards the poles, while they decrease by up to the same amountin the lower midlatitudes. When considering only cyclone-associated extremewind speed events, the same migration towards higher latitudes is found inboth percentage per degree warming and absolute value. Although the totalnumber of midlatitude cyclones decreases by roughly 4%, the proportion ofcyclone-associated near-surface extreme wind speed events in the warmer climatesimulation compared to the present climate simulation increases by 10%. Overall,the objective attribution of extreme wind speed events to midlatitude cyclonesdemonstrates that the poleward shift of midlatitude cyclones tracks and intensityresults into a poleward migration of cyclone-associated extreme wind speeds inboth hemispheres, leading to large impacts over the inhabited areas of the NH,including North-Western Europe, the British Isles, and the West Coast of NorthAmerica.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:113239
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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