Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-75
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-75

  15 Nov 2021

15 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Future changes in the extratropical storm tracks and cyclone intensity, wind speed, and structure

Matthew D. K. Priestley and Jennifer L. Catto Matthew D. K. Priestley and Jennifer L. Catto
  • College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

Abstract. Future changes in extratropical cyclones and the associated storm tracks are uncertain. Using the new CMIP6 models, we investigate changes to seasonal mean storm tracks and composite wind speeds at different levels of the troposphere for the winter and summer seasons in both the Northern (NH) and Southern Hemispheres (SH). Changes are assessed across four different climate scenarios. The seasonal mean storm tracks are predicted to shift polewards in the SH and also in the North Pacific, with an extension into Europe for the North Atlantic storm track. Overall, the number of cyclones will decrease by ~5 % by the end of the 21st century, although the number of extreme cyclones will increase by 4 % in NH winter. Cyclone wind speeds are projected to strengthen throughout the troposphere in the winter seasons and also summer in the SH, with a weakening projected in NH summer, although there are minimal changes in the maximum wind speed in the lower troposphere. Large amounts of this change can be associated with changes in the speed of cyclones in the future. Changes in wind speeds are concentrated in the warm sector of cyclones and the area of extreme winds may be up to 40 % larger by the end of the century. The largest changes are seen for the SSP5-85 scenario, although large amount of change can be mitigated by restricting warming to that seen in the SSP1-26 and 2-45 scenarios. Extreme cyclones show larger increases in wind speed and peak vorticity than the average strength cyclones, with the extreme cyclones showing a larger increase in wind speed in the warm sector.

Matthew D. K. Priestley and Jennifer L. Catto

Status: open (until 31 Dec 2021)

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Matthew D. K. Priestley and Jennifer L. Catto

Matthew D. K. Priestley and Jennifer L. Catto

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Short summary
We use the newest set of climate model experiments to investigate changes to mid-latitude storm tracks and cyclones from global warming. The overall number of cyclones will decrease, however in winter their will be more of the most intense cyclones and these intense cyclones are likely to be stronger. Cyclone wind speeds will increase in winter and as a result the area of strongest wind speeds will increase. By 2100 the area of strong wind speeds may increase by over 30 %.