Tropical cyclone simulation and response to CO2 doubling in the GFDL CM2.5 high-resolution coupled climate model

Hyeong Seog Kim, Gabriel Andres Vecchi, Thomas R. Knutson, Whit G. Anderson, Thomas L. Delworth, Anthony Rosati, Fanrong Zeng, Ming Zhao

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114 Scopus citations


Global tropical cyclone (TC) activity is simulated by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Climate Model, version 2.5 (CM2.5), which is a fully coupled global climate model with a horizontal resolution of about 50km for the atmosphere and 25km for the ocean. The present climate simulation shows a fairly realistic global TC frequency, seasonal cycle, and geographical distribution. The model has some notable biases in regional TC activity, including simulating too few TCs in the North Atlantic. The regional biases in TC activity are associated with simulation biases in the large-scale environment such as sea surface temperature, vertical wind shear, and vertical velocity. Despite these biases, the model simulates the large-scale variations of TC activity induced by El Niño-Southern Oscillation fairly realistically. The response of TC activity in the model to global warming is investigated by comparing the present climate with a CO2 doubling experiment. Globally, TC frequency decreases (219%) while the intensity increases (12.7%) in response to CO2 doubling, consistent with previous studies. The average TC lifetime decreases by 24.6%, while the TC size and rainfall increase by about 3% and 12%, respectively. These changes are generally reproduced across the different basins in terms of the sign of the change, although the percent changes vary from basin to basin and within individual basins. For the Atlantic basin, although there is an overall reduction in frequency from CO2 doubling, the warmed climate exhibits increased interannual hurricane frequency variability so that the simulated Atlantic TC activity is enhanced more during unusually warm years in the CO2-warmed climate relative to that in unusually warm years in the control climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8034-8054
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Climate change
  • Climate models
  • Tropical cyclones


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