Eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone activity in historical and future CMIP5 experiments: assessment with a model-independent tracking scheme
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The sensitivity of tropical cyclone (TC) projection results to different models and the detection and tracking scheme used is well established in the literature. Here, future climate projections of TC activity in the Eastern North Pacific basin (ENP, defined from 0° to 40°N and 180° to ~ 75°W) are assessed with a model- and basin-independent detection and tracking scheme that was trained in reanalysis data. The scheme is applied to models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) experiments forced under the historical and Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) conditions. TC tracks from the observed records and models are analysed simultaneously with a curve-clustering algorithm, allowing observed and model tracks to be projected onto the same set of clusters. The ENP is divided into three clusters, one in the Central North Pacific (CNP) and two off the Mexican coast, as in prior studies. After accounting for model biases and auto-correlation, projection results under RCP8.5 indicated TC genesis to be significantly suppressed east of 125°W, and significantly enhanced west of 145°W by the end of the twenty-first century. Regional TC track exposure was found to significantly increase around Hawaii (~ 86%), as shown in earlier studies, owing to increased TC genesis, particularly to the south-east of the island nation. TC exposure to Southern Mexico was shown to decrease (~ 4%), owing to a south-westward displacement of TCs and overall suppression of genesis near the Mexican coastline. The large-scale environmental conditions most consistent with these projected changes were vertical wind shear and relative humidity.
This work is supported through funding from the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme (NESP). Samuel Bell is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend and RTP Fee-Offset Scholarship through Federation University Australia.
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