North Atlantic power dissipation index (PDI) and accumulated cyclone energy (ACE): Statistical modeling and sensitivity to sea surface temperature changes

Gabriele Villarini, Gabriel A. Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study focuses on the statistical modeling of the power dissipation index (PDI) and accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) for the North Atlantic basin over the period 1949-2008, which are metrics routinely used to assess tropical storm activity, and their sensitivity to sea surface temperature (SST) changes. To describe the variability exhibited by the data, four different statistical distributions are considered (gamma, Gumbel, lognormal, and Weibull), and tropical Atlantic and tropical mean SSTs are used as predictors. Model selection, both in terms of significant covariates and their functional relation to the parameters of the statistical distribution, is performed using two penalty criteria. Two different SST datasets are considered [the Met Office's Global Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature dataset (HadISSTv1) and NOAA's extended reconstructed SST dataset (ERSSTv3b)] to examine the sensitivity of the results to the input data. The statistical models presented in this study are able to well describe the variability in the observations according to several goodness-of-fit diagnostics. Both tropical Atlantic and tropical mean SSTs are significant predictors, independently of the SST input data, penalty criterion, and tropical storm activity metric. The application of these models to centennial reconstructions and seasonal forecasting is illustrated. The sensitivity of North Atlantic tropical cyclone frequency, duration, and intensity is examined for both uniform and nonuniform SST changes. Under uniform SST warming, these results indicate that there is a modest sensitivity of intensity, and a decrease in tropical storm and hurricane frequencies. On the other hand, increases in tropical Atlantic SST relative to the tropical mean SST suggest an increase in the intensity and frequency of North Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-637
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Arctic Oscillation
  • Atmosphere-land interaction
  • General circulation models
  • Interannual variability
  • Snow
  • Stratophere-troposphere coupling

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