Climate Dynamics

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 507–532 | Cite as

Cyclone life cycle characteristics over the Northern Hemisphere in coupled GCMs

  • Ulrike Löptien
  • Olga Zolina
  • Sergey Gulev
  • Mojib Latif
  • Vladimir Soloviov


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.


Cyclone characteristics Climate-change Storm tracks Extra tropical cyclones Cyclone tracking Reanalysis Northern Hemisphere ECHAM 



This study was supported by the EU-project ENSEMBLES, the Ministry of Science and Education of Russian Federation under the contract 02.515.11.5032 and by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant 05-05-64882). We also benefited from special co-operative grant of DFG provided for the exchange of visits between IFM-GEOMAR and the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (LO-1377/1-1). The group “Modelle und Daten” of MPI (Hamburg) is acknowledged for the provision of ECHAM models outputs. NCEP/NCAR and ERA-40 reanalyses were made available by courtesy of NCEP and ECMWF. Suggestions and criticism of Christoph Raible of University of Bern and anonymous reviewer considerably helped to improve the manuscript. We appreciate helpful discussions with our colleagues Thomas Jung of ECMWF (Reading), Noel Keenlyside and Eberhard Ruprecht of IFM-GEOMAR (Kiel), Irina Rudeva of IORAS (Moscow) and Erich Roeckner of MPI (Hamburg).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrike Löptien
    • 1
  • Olga Zolina
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sergey Gulev
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mojib Latif
    • 1
  • Vladimir Soloviov
    • 2
  1. 1.Leibniz-Institut für MeereswissenschaftenKielGermany
  2. 2.P. P. Shirshov Institute of OceanologyMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Meteorological InstituteUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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