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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2010, Article ID 915303, 13 pages
Research Article

Towards Direct Simulation of Future Tropical Cyclone Statistics in a High-Resolution Global Atmospheric Model

1Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Rd. MS50F, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2Divecha Center for Climate Change, Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India
3Climate Central, Inc., 895 Emerson St., Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
4Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, 94551-0808, USA
5Google, Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA

Received 31 December 2009; Revised 14 April 2010; Accepted 22 April 2010

Academic Editor: Song Y. Hong

Copyright © 2010 Michael F. Wehner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present a set of high-resolution global atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) simulations focusing on the model's ability to represent tropical storms and their statistics. We find that the model produces storms of hurricane strength with realistic dynamical features. We also find that tropical storm statistics are reasonable, both globally and in the north Atlantic, when compared to recent observations. The sensitivity of simulated tropical storm statistics to increases in sea surface temperature (SST) is also investigated, revealing that a credible late 21st century SST increase produced increases in simulated tropical storm numbers and intensities in all ocean basins. While this paper supports previous high-resolution model and theoretical findings that the frequency of very intense storms will increase in a warmer climate, it differs notably from previous medium and high-resolution model studies that show a global reduction in total tropical storm frequency. However, we are quick to point out that this particular model finding remains speculative due to a lack of radiative forcing changes in our time-slice experiments as well as a focus on the Northern hemisphere tropical storm seasons.