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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999


Impacts And Adaptation: Impacts on Storms

Item #d98may58

"A GCM Study of the Impact of Greenhouse Gas Increase on the Frequency of Occurrence of Tropical Cyclones," J.-F. Royer (Météo France/CNRM, 42 Av. G. Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse Cedex, France), F. Chauvin et al.,Clim. Change, 38(3), 307-343, Mar. 1998.

Applies the Yearly Genesis Parameter (YGP) proposed by Gray to simulations with a French GCM. Proposes a modification to the method of calculating the YGP that has little effect on storm frequencies predicted for the present climate, but for doubled CO2 predicts a more limited increase in storm genesis in the Northern Hemisphere, and a small reduction in the Southern Hemisphere.

Item #d98may59

"Simulated Increase of Hurricane Intensities in a CO2-Warmed Climate," T.R. Knutson (NOAA/GFDL, POB 308, Princeton NJ 08542; e-mail:, R.E. Tuleya, Y. Kurihara, Science, 279(5353), 1018-1020, Feb. 13, 1998.

Applies a regional, high-resolution hurricane prediction model to case studies of 51 western Pacific storms in the present climate, and compares results under high-CO2 conditions. For a sea surface temperature warming of about 2.2°C, the simulations yielded hurricanes that were more intense by 3-7 meters per second (5-12%) in wind speed.

Item #d98may60

"Tropical Cyclones and Global Climate Change: A Post-IPCC Assessment," A. Henderson-Sellers (Chancellory/R&D, Roy. Melbourne Inst. Technol., POB 71, Bundoora VIC 3083, Australia; e-mail:, H. Zhang et al.,Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79(1), 19-38, Jan. 1998.

Gives a detailed update of projected trends in tropical cyclones, based on thermodynamic estimation of the "maximum potential intensities" (MPI). Recent studies indicate that the MPI of cyclones will remain the same or undergo a modest increase of up to 10-20%. This predicted change is small compared with observed natural variations, and known omitted factors could operate to mitigate this intensification. Contrary to popular belief, the broad geographic regions affected by tropical cyclones is not expected to change significantly.

Item #d98may61

"The Impact of Current and Possibly Future Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies on the Frequency of Atlantic Hurricanes," T.N. Krishnamurti (Dept. Meteor., Florida State Univ., Tallahassee FL 32306), R. Correa-Torres et al.,Tellus, 50A(2), 186-210, Mar. 1998.

Describes experiments involving season-long integrations of a global spectral model using prescribed sea surface temperatures corresponding to El Niño and La Niña conditions. Storms under doubled CO2 occurred at greater frequency only in El Niño periods. Hurricane intensities increased slightly at doubled CO2.

Item #d98may62

Discussion: "Will Greenhouse Gas-Induced Warming over the Next 50 Year Lead to Higher Frequency and Greater Intensity of Hurricanes?" Tellus, 49A(5), 622-625, Nov. 1997.

Item #d98may63

"A 200-Year Record of Gale Frequency, Edinburgh, Scotland: Possible Link with High-Magnitude Volcanic Eruptions," A.G. Dawson (Ctr. Quaternary Sci., Coventry Univ., Coventry CV1 5FB, UK), K. Hickey et al.,The Holocene, 7(3), 337-341, Sep. 1997.

Examination of what is believed to be the longest historical record of gales in Europe shows three clear peaks in storminess that follow the volcanic eruptions of Tambora (1815), Krakatoa (1833), and El Chichon (1982). If this correlation has physical validity, the processes that link large volcanic eruptions to storminess in the North Atlantic need to be included in IPCC research that presently focuses on the effects of global warming on storm frequency.

Item #d98may64

"An Analysis of Extra-Tropical Storms in the North Atlantic Region as Simulated in a Control and 2 ´ CO2 Time-Slice Experiment with a High-Resolution Atmospheric Model," J.J. Beersma (Netherlands Meteor. Inst. — KNMI, POB 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, Neth.; e-mail:, K.M. Rider et al., Tellus, 49A(3), 347-361, May 1997.

Experiments with the European Center's model suggest that a greenhouse-induced decrease in the meridional temperature gradient near the surface will be roughly balanced by the increase of that gradient in the upper troposphere. The net effect of CO2 doubling on storminess is small.

Item #d98may65

"Model-Simulated Northern Winter Cyclone and Anticyclone Activity Under a Greenhouse Warming Scenario," Y. Zhang (Clim. Model Diagnosis Program, Lawrence-Livermore Natl. Lab., POB 808, Livermore CA 94550; e-mail:, W.-C. Wang,J. Clim., 10(7), 1616-1634, July 1997.

Two 100-year equilibrium simulations with the NCAR climate model indicate that the activity of cyclonic scale eddies decreases under the greenhouse warming scenario. Discusses three physical mechanisms that could account for this, as well as uncertainties in the model results.

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