Increasing Flood Hazard Posed by Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensification in a Changing Climate

Joseph W. Lockwood, Ning Lin, Avantika Gori, Michael Oppenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tropical cyclones (TCs) that undergo rapid intensification (RI) before landfall are notoriously difficult to predict and have caused tremendous damage to coastal regions in the United States. Using downscaled synthetic TCs and physics-based models for storm tide and rain, we investigate the hazards posed by TCs that rapidly intensify before landfall under both historical and future mid-emissions climate scenarios. In the downscaled synthetic data, the percentage of TCs experiencing RI is estimated to rise across a significant portion of the North Atlantic basin. Notably, future climate warming causes large increases in the probability of RI within 24 hr of landfall. Also, our analysis shows that RI events induce notably higher rainfall hazard levels than non-RI events with equivalent TC intensities. As a result, RI events dominate increases in 100-year rainfall and storm tide levels under climate change for most of the US coastline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023GL105624
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 16 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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