Climate Dynamics

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 19–36 | Cite as

Tropical storms: representation and diagnosis in climate models and the impacts of climate change

  • R. E. McDonald
  • D. G. Bleaken
  • D. R. Cresswell
  • V. D. Pope
  • C. A. Senior


Tropical storms are located and tracked in an experiment in which a high-resolution atmosphere only model is forced with observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and sea ice. The structure, geographic distribution and seasonal variability of the model tropical storms show some similarities with observations. The simulation of tropical storms is better in this high-resolution experiment than in a parallel standard resolution experiment. In an anomaly experiment, sea ice, SSTs and greenhouse-gas forcing are changed to mimic the changes that occur in a coupled model as greenhouse-gases are increased. There are more tropical storms in this experiment than in the control experiment in the Northeast Pacific and Indian Ocean basins and fewer in the North Atlantic, Northwest Pacific and Southwest Pacific region. The changes in the North Atlantic and Northwest Pacific can be linked to El Niño-like behaviour. A comparison of the tracking results with two empirically derived tropical storm genesis parameters is carried out. The tracking technique and a convective genesis parameter give similar results, both in the global distribution and in the changes in the individual basins. The convective genesis parameter is also applied to parallel coupled model experiments that have a lower horizontal resolution. The changes in the global distribution of tropical storms in the coupled model experiments are consistent with the changes seen at higher resolution. This indicates that the convective genesis parameter may still provide useful information about tropical storm changes in experiments carried out with models that cannot resolve tropical storms.


Tropical Storm Vertical Wind Shear Relative Vorticity Monsoon Trough Climate Change Experiment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was carried out under the UK Government Meteorological Research Programme. Rachel Stratton carried out the N144 and N48 experiments and Tim Johns carried out the HadCM3 experiments. Kevin Hodges of Reading University wrote the tracking programs and David Jackson modified the tracking to identify TSs. We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments that have improved this paper. We thank ECMWF for the use of their re-analysis (ERA) dataset and the CPC for the use of the CMAP data. We also thank the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Colorado State University and the Tropical Prediction Center for the use of their tropical storm best track data. The Southern Hemisphere and North Indian data were downloaded from and the Northwest Pacific, North Atlantic, and Northeast Pacific data were downloaded from


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. McDonald
    • 1
  • D. G. Bleaken
    • 1
  • D. R. Cresswell
    • 1
  • V. D. Pope
    • 1
  • C. A. Senior
    • 1
  1. 1.Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and ResearchUnited Kingdom

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