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Hurricanes in an aquaplanet world: Implications of the impacts of external forcing and model horizontal resolution

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High-resolution climate models have been shown to improve the statistics of tropical storms (TCs) and hurricanes compared to low-resolution models. The impact of increasing horizontal resolution in the TC simulation is investigated exclusively using a series of Atmospheric Global Climate Model (AGCM) runs with idealized aquaplanet steady-state boundary conditions and a fixed operational storm-tracking algorithm. The results show that increasing horizontal resolution helps to detect more hurricanes, simulate stronger extreme rainfall, and emulate better storm structures in the models. However, increasing model resolution does not necessarily produce stronger hurricanes in terms of maximum wind speed, minimum sea-level pressure, and mean precipitation, as the increased number of storms simulated by high-resolution models is mainly associated with weaker storms. The spatial scale at which the analyses are conducted appears to have more important control on these meteorological statistics compared to horizontal resolution of the model grid. When the simulations are analyzed on common low-resolution grids, the statistics of the hurricanes, particularly the hurricane counts, show reduced sensitivity to the horizontal grid resolution and signs of scale invariance. ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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