Correlation Between Sea-Level Rise and Aspects of Future Tropical Cyclone Activity in CMIP6 Models

Joseph W. Lockwood, Michael Oppenheimer, Ning Lin, Robert E. Kopp, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Avantika Gori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Future coastal flood hazard at many locations will be impacted by both tropical cyclone (TC) change and relative sea-level rise (SLR). Despite sea level and TC activity being influenced by common thermodynamic and dynamic climate variables, their future changes are generally considered independently. Here, we investigate correlations between SLR and TC change derived from simulations of 26 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 models. We first explore correlations between SLR and TC activity by inference from two large-scale factors known to modulate TC activity: potential intensity (PI) and vertical wind shear. Under the high emissions SSP5-8.5, SLR is strongly correlated with PI change (positively) and vertical wind shear change (negatively) over much of the western North Atlantic and North West Pacific, with global mean surface air temperature (GSAT) modulating the co-variability. To explore the impact of the joint changes on flood hazard, we conduct climatological–hydrodynamic modeling at five sites along the US East and Gulf Coasts. Positive correlations between SLR and TC change alter flood hazard projections, particularly at Wilmington, Charleston and New Orleans. For example, if positive correlations between SLR and TC changes are ignored in estimating flood hazard at Wilmington, the average projected change to the historical 100 years storm tide event is under-estimated by 12%. Our results suggest that flood hazard assessments that neglect the joint influence of these factors and that do not reflect the full distribution of GSAT change may not accurately represent future flood hazard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021EF002462
JournalEarth's Future
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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