Cyclone life cycle characteristics over the Northern Hemisphere in coupled GCMs
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Cyclone activity and life cycle are analysed in the coupled GCMs ECHAM5/OM and ECHAM4/OPYC3. First, the results for the present climate (1978–1999) are compared with ERA-40 and NCEP/NCAR reanalyses, showing a drastic improvement in the representation of cyclone activity in ECHAM5/OM compared to ECHAM4/OPYC3. The total number of cyclones, cyclone intensity, propagation velocity and deepening rates are found to be much more realistic in ECHAM5/OM relative to ECHAM4/OPYC3. Then, changes in extra tropical cyclone characteristics are compared between present day climate and future climate under the emission-scenario A1B using ECHAM5/OM. This comparison is performed using the 20-year time slices 1978–1999, 2070–2090 and 2170–2190, which were considered to be representative for the various climate conditions. The total number of cyclones does not undergo significant changes in a warmer climate. However, regional changes in cyclone numbers and frequencies are evident. One example is the Mediterranean region where the number of cyclones in summer increases almost by factor 2. Some noticeable changes are also found in cyclone life cycle characteristics (deepening rate and propagation velocity). Cyclones in the future climate scenario tend to move slower and their deepening rate becomes stronger, while cyclone intensity does not undergo significant change in a warmer climate. Generally, our results do not support the hypothesis of enhanced storminess under future climate conditions.