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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Model Tracks in Present and Future Climates

  • Author(s): Nakamura, J
  • Camargo, SJ
  • Sobel, AH
  • Henderson, N
  • Emanuel, KA
  • Kumar, A
  • LaRow, TE
  • Murakami, H
  • Roberts, MJ
  • Scoccimarro, E
  • Vidale, PL
  • Wang, H
  • Wehner, MF
  • Zhao, M
  • et al.

©2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Western North Pacific tropical cyclone (TC) model tracks are analyzed in two large multimodel ensembles, spanning a large variety of models and multiple future climate scenarios. Two methodologies are used to synthesize the properties of TC tracks in this large data set: cluster analysis and mass moment ellipses. First, the models' TC tracks are compared to observed TC tracks' characteristics, and a subset of the models is chosen for analysis, based on the tracks' similarity to observations and sample size. Potential changes in track types in a warming climate are identified by comparing the kernel smoothed probability distributions of various track variables in historical and future scenarios using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov significance test. Two track changes are identified. The first is a statistically significant increase in the north-south expansion, which can also be viewed as a poleward shift, as TC tracks are prevented from expanding equatorward due to the weak Coriolis force near the equator. The second change is an eastward shift in the storm tracks that occur near the central Pacific in one of the multimodel ensembles, indicating a possible increase in the occurrence of storms near Hawaii in a warming climate. The dependence of the results on which model and future scenario are considered emphasizes the necessity of including multiple models and scenarios when considering future changes in TC characteristics.

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