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Robust increases in severe thunderstorm environments in response to greenhouse forcing

Published on Oct 8, 2013in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America9.58
· DOI :10.1073/pnas.1307758110
Noah S. Diffenbaugh46
Estimated H-index: 46
(Stanford University),
Martin Scherer7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Stanford University),
Robert J. Trapp25
Estimated H-index: 25
(Purdue University)
Cite
Abstract
Although severe thunderstorms are one of the primary causes of catastrophic loss in the United States, their response to elevated greenhouse forcing has remained a prominent source of uncertainty for climate change impacts assessment. We find that the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5, global climate model ensemble indicates robust increases in the occurrence of severe thunderstorm environments over the eastern United States in response to further global warming. For spring and autumn, these robust increases emerge before mean global warming of 2 °C above the preindustrial baseline. We also find that days with high convective available potential energy (CAPE) and strong low-level wind shear increase in occurrence, suggesting an increasing likelihood of atmospheric conditions that contribute to the most severe events, including tornadoes. In contrast, whereas expected decreases in mean wind shear have been used to argue for a negative influence of global warming on severe thunderstorms, we find that decreases in shear are in fact concentrated in days with low CAPE and therefore do not decrease the total occurrence of severe environments. Further, we find that the shift toward high CAPE is most concentrated in days with low convective inhibition, increasing the occurrence of high-CAPE/low-convective inhibition days. The fact that the projected increases in severe environments are robust across a suite of climate models, emerge in response to relatively moderate global warming, and result from robust physical changes suggests that continued increases in greenhouse forcing are likely to increase severe thunderstorm occurrence, thereby increasing the risk of thunderstorm-related damage.
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  • References (31)
  • Citations (105)
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References31
Newest
Published on Jul 1, 2013in Journal of Climate4.80
Richard Neale25
Estimated H-index: 25
,
Jadwiga H. Richter18
Estimated H-index: 18
+ 4 AuthorsMinghua Zhang47
Estimated H-index: 47
AbstractThe Community Atmosphere Model, version 4 (CAM4), was released as part of the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4). The finite volume (FV) dynamical core is now the default because of its superior transport and conservation properties. Deep convection parameterization changes include a dilute plume calculation of convective available potential energy (CAPE) and the introduction of convective momentum transport (CMT). An additional cloud fraction calculation is now performed ...
Published on May 16, 2013in Journal of Geophysical Research3.23
Christopher B. Skinner10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Stanford University),
Noah S. Diffenbaugh46
Estimated H-index: 46
(Stanford University)
[1] African easterly waves (AEWs) are a major source of synoptic-scale rainfall variability throughout West Africa. Given the persistent uncertainty in the response of precipitation over West Africa to enhanced greenhouse forcing, we analyze the contribution of AEWs to the simulation of precipitation over West Africa in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) ensemble of general circulation models. Nearly all models that simulate weaker-than-observed AEW activity exhibit a lack...
Published on Apr 1, 2013in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society8.17
Kenneth E. Kunkel45
Estimated H-index: 45
(NCSU: North Carolina State University),
Thomas R. Karl72
Estimated H-index: 72
(NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
+ 22 AuthorsDonald J. Wuebbles49
Estimated H-index: 49
(NCSA: National Center for Supercomputing Applications)
The state of knowledge regarding trends and an understanding of their causes is presented for a specific subset of extreme weather and climate types. For severe convective storms (tornadoes, hailstorms, and severe thunderstorms), differences in time and space of practices of collecting reports of events make using the reporting database to detect trends extremely difficult. Overall, changes in the frequency of environments favorable for severe thunderstorms have not been statistically significan...
Published on Apr 1, 2013in Atmospheric Research4.11
Harold E. Brooks40
Estimated H-index: 40
(NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
As the planet warms, it is important to consider possible impacts of climate change on severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. To further that discussion, the current distribution of severe thunderstorms as a function of large-scale environmental conditions is presented. Severe thunderstorms are much more likely to form in environments with large values of convective available potential energy (CAPE) and deep-tropospheric wind shear. Tornadoes and large hail are preferred in high-shear environments ...
Published on Mar 27, 2013in Journal of Geophysical Research3.23
Andrew Charlton-Perez22
Estimated H-index: 22
(University of Reading),
Mark P. Baldwin38
Estimated H-index: 38
(University of Exeter)
+ 25 AuthorsSteven C. Hardiman29
Estimated H-index: 29
(Met Office)
We describe the main differences in simulations of stratospheric climate and variability by models within the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that have a model top above the stratopause and relatively fine stratospheric vertical resolution (high-top), and those that have a model top below the stratopause (low-top). Although the simulation of mean stratospheric climate by the two model ensembles is similar, the low-top model ensemble has very weak stratospheric variability on ...
Published on Dec 1, 2012in Environmental Research Letters6.19
Yang Gao16
Estimated H-index: 16
(UT: University of Tennessee),
Joshua S. Fu36
Estimated H-index: 36
(UT: University of Tennessee)
+ 2 AuthorsJ.-F. Lamarque7
Estimated H-index: 7
(NCAR: National Center for Atmospheric Research)
This study is the first evaluation of dynamical downscaling using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model on a 4 km 4 km high resolution scale in the eastern US driven by the new Community Earth System Model version 1.0 (CESM v1.0). First we examined the global and regional climate model results, and corrected an inconsistency in skin temperature during the downscaling process by modifying the land/sea mask. In comparison with observations, WRF shows statistically significant improvemen...
Published on Jun 1, 2012in Natural Hazards2.32
Cameron C. Lee9
Estimated H-index: 9
(KSU: Kent State University)
Previous research into the impacts of climate change on severe mid-latitude weather has been limited by the spatial resolution of many important variables in global climate model output. By utilizing synoptic climatological methods, however, this research takes an entirely different approach. Using a six-step process that includes principal components analysis, cluster analysis, and discriminant function analysis, this study first creates a continental-scale map pattern classification at three l...
Published on Apr 1, 2012in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society8.17
Karl E. Taylor16
Estimated H-index: 16
,
Ronald J. Stouffer70
Estimated H-index: 70
,
Gerald A. Meehl93
Estimated H-index: 93
The fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) will produce a state-of-the- art multimodel dataset designed to advance our knowledge of climate variability and climate change. Researchers worldwide are analyzing the model output and will produce results likely to underlie the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unprecedented in scale and attracting interest from all major climate modeling groups, CMIP5 includes “long term” s...
Published on Apr 1, 2012in Nature Climate Change21.72
Joeri Rogelj33
Estimated H-index: 33
(ETH Zurich),
Malte Meinshausen41
Estimated H-index: 41
,
Reto Knutti59
Estimated H-index: 59
Models and scenarios on which climate projection are based vary between IPCC reports. To facilitate meaningful comparison, this study provides probabilistic climate projections for different scenarios in a single consistent framework, incorporating the overall consensus understanding of the uncertainty in climate sensitivity, and constrained by the observed historical warming.
Published on Apr 1, 2012in Weather1.14
Charles A. Doswell8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies),
Gregory W. Carbin4
Estimated H-index: 4
(NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration),
Harold E. Brooks40
Estimated H-index: 40
(NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Tornado activity during spring of 2011 in the USA was of historic proportions; a series of major outbreaks of tornadoes in April and May produced hundreds of fatalities and thousands of millions of $US in damage. These events are considered in terms of the history of tornadoes in the USA and are seen to approach the worst ever recorded. With all the current concern for the effects of global climate change, this raises a number of questions about why such devastation occurred during this spring's...
Cited By105
Newest
Published on Dec 1, 2019
Anja T. Rädler (Munich Re), Pieter Groenemeijer10
Estimated H-index: 10
+ 2 AuthorsTomáš Púčik5
Estimated H-index: 5
We show that the frequency of damaging convective weather events including lightning, hail and severe wind gusts will likely increase over Europe until the end of this century. We apply a set of additive regression models to an ensemble of 14 regional climate simulations and find that convective instability will increase as a result of rising humidity near the earth’s surface. Even though a slight decrease in thunderstorm occurrence in southwestern and southeastern Europe is projected, the proba...
Published on Dec 1, 2019
Todd W. Moore6
Estimated H-index: 6
(TU: Towson University),
Michael P. McGuire6
Estimated H-index: 6
(TU: Towson University)
Recent studies have documented possible ongoing changes to the climatology of tornadoes in the United States. Observed changes include increasing tornado counts in the Southeast and Midwest Regions, decreasing tornado counts in the Great Plains, and increased clustering of tornadoes on fewer days of the year. This study illustrates that the spatial dispersion of tornadoes in the United States is also changing. The dispersion of tornadoes decreased between 1954 and 2017, most notably in spring, s...
Published on 2019in Geophysical Research Letters4.58
M. Wu (Brown University), Jung-Eun Lee30
Estimated H-index: 30
(Brown University)
Published on May 23, 2019in Geophysical Research Letters4.58
Edmund P. Meredith1
Estimated H-index: 1
(FU: Free University of Berlin),
Uwe Ulbrich38
Estimated H-index: 38
(FU: Free University of Berlin),
Henning W. Rust16
Estimated H-index: 16
(FU: Free University of Berlin)
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Atmospheric Research4.11
Mahboubeh Firouzabadi (UT: University of Tehran), Mohammad Mirzaei2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UT: University of Tehran),
Ali R. Mohebalhojeh6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UT: University of Tehran)
Abstract The severe convective storm (SCS) events that affect Tehran during spring and early summer have potential to cause devastating effects. To study SCSs in Tehran, a climatological analysis is carried out using surface data of Tehran's Mehrabad station from 1961 to 2015 and the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data to compute the large-scale and the local stability indices. Based on the maximum wind speed, the events are classified into three categories consisting of convective storm (CS), severe conv...
Published on Feb 25, 2019
Todd W. Moore6
Estimated H-index: 6
(TU: Towson University),
Tiffany A. DeBoer1
Estimated H-index: 1
(TU: Towson University)
This review and analysis illustrates that the spatial distribution and temporal clustering of tornadoes in the United States are changing. Tornado activity is increasing throughout the Southeast and in the southern portion of the Midwest and is decreasing throughout the southern and northwestern portions of the Great Plains and in the northern Midwest. This eastward shift is seen in tornado density maps, regional and gridded trends, and in an eastward shift of the mean center of tornadoes at the...
Published on May 1, 2019in Pure and Applied Geophysics1.47
Robert Sharman23
Estimated H-index: 23
(NCAR: National Center for Atmospheric Research),
Stanley B. Trier28
Estimated H-index: 28
(NCAR: National Center for Atmospheric Research)
Thunderstorms are known to produce turbulence. Such turbulence is commonly referred to as convectively induced turbulence or CIT, and can be hazardous to aviation. Although this turbulence can occur both within and outside the convection, out-of-cloud CIT is particularly hazardous, since it occurs in clear air and cannot be seen by eye or onboard radar. Furthermore, due to its small scale and its ties to the underlying convection, it is very difficult to forecast. Guidelines for out-of-cloud CIT...
Published on Jun 26, 2019in Natural Hazards2.32
Andrey Shikhov1
Estimated H-index: 1
(PSU: Perm State University),
Ekaterina S. Perminova , Sergey I. Perminov
Large-scale wildfires and windstorms are the most important disturbance agents for the Russian boreal forests. The paper presents an assessment of fire-related and wind-induced forest losses in the Ural region of Russia for 2000‒2014. The assessment is based on the use of Landsat images, Global Forest Change dataset (Hansen et al. in Science 342:850–853, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1244693) and other space imagery data. The total area of stand-replacement fires and windthrows in the Ur...
Published on Mar 1, 2019in Grass and Forage Science1.81
Paolo Bani9
Estimated H-index: 9
(UCSC: Catholic University of the Sacred Heart),
Isabella Grecchi1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UCSC: Catholic University of the Sacred Heart)
+ 4 AuthorsAndrea Minuti13
Estimated H-index: 13
(UCSC: Catholic University of the Sacred Heart)
View next paperTransient response of severe thunderstorm forcing to elevated greenhouse gas concentrations