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Influence of model resolution on bomb cyclones revealed by HighResMIP-PRIMAVERA simulations

Jiaxiang, G., Shoshiro, M., Roberts, M. J., Haarsma, R., Putrahasan, D., Roberts, C., Scoccimarro, E., Terray, L., Vanniere, B. ORCID: and Vidale, P. L. (2020) Influence of model resolution on bomb cyclones revealed by HighResMIP-PRIMAVERA simulations. Environmental Research Letters, 15 (8). 084001. ISSN 1748-9326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab88fa


Bomb cyclones are explosively intensifying extratropical cyclones that can cause severe damage to life and property. However, the poor ability of coarse-resolution climate models to simulate bomb cyclones, including underestimation of the frequency of bomb cyclones, remains a problem. In this study, the dependence of bomb cyclone characteristics on horizontal resolution from 135 to 18 km is investigated by analyzing the outputs of HighResMIP historical simulations of atmospheric general circulation models and four reanalysis datasets. Robust resolution dependence of bomb cyclone characteristics is identified for both the models and the reanalyses. Finer horizontal resolution significantly increases the frequency of bomb cyclones and reduces their average horizontal size. A regression analysis indicates that bomb cyclone frequency is roughly doubled from 140 km to 25 km resolution. The overall increase in bomb cyclone number is associated with a large increase in small bomb cyclones and a moderate decrease in large ones. Bomb cyclones in higher-resolution models are also accompanied by a higher maximum wind speed and more extreme wind events, which is probably related to the increased pressure gradients due to the smaller size of the bomb cyclones. These results imply that high-resolution models should be used for evaluating the impacts of bomb cyclones.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:92721
Publisher:Institute of Physics

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