We find that extreme temperature and precipitation events are likely to respond substantially to anthropogenically enhanced greenhouse forcing and that fine-scale climate system modifiers are likely to play a critical role in the net response. At present, such events impact a wide variety of natural and human systems, and future changes in their frequency and͞or magnitude could have dramatic ecological, economic, and sociological consequences. Our results indicate that fine-scale snow albedo effects influence the response of both hot and cold events and that peak increases in extreme hot events are amplified by surface moisture feedbacks. Likewise, we find that extreme precipitation is enhanced on the lee side of rain shadows and over coastal areas dominated by convective precipitation. We project substantial, spatially heterogeneous increases in both hot and wet events over the contiguous United States by the end of the next century, suggesting that consideration of fine-scale processes is critical for accurate assessment of local-and regional-scale vulnerability to climate change.extreme climate ͉ RegCM3 ͉ regional climate model ͉ United States ͉ CO2
Severe thunderstorms comprise an extreme class of deep convective clouds and produce high-impact weather such as destructive surface winds, hail, and tornadoes. This study addresses the question of how severe thunderstorm frequency in the United States might change because of enhanced global radiative forcing associated with elevated greenhouse gas concentrations. We use global climate models and a high-resolution regional climate model to examine the larger-scale (or ''environmental'') meteorological conditions that foster severe thunderstorm formation. Across this model suite, we find a net increase during the late 21st century in the number of days in which these severe thunderstorm environmental conditions (NDSEV) occur. Attributed primarily to increases in atmospheric water vapor within the planetary boundary layer, the largest increases in NDSEV are shown during the summer season, in proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastal regions. For example, this analysis suggests a future increase in NDSEV of 100% or more in locations such as Atlanta, GA, and New York, NY. Any direct application of these results to the frequency of actual storms also must consider the storm initiation.climate change ͉ United States ͉ convective storm
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.severe weather | CMIP5 | GCM | hazards
We used a high‐resolution nested climate modeling system to investigate the response of South Asian summer monsoon dynamics to anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. The simulated dynamical features of the summer monsoon compared well with reanalysis data and observations. Further, we found that enhanced greenhouse forcing resulted in overall suppression of summer precipitation, a delay in monsoon onset, and an increase in the occurrence of monsoon break periods. Weakening of the large‐scale monsoon flow and suppression of the dominant intraseasonal oscillatory modes were instrumental in the overall weakening of the South Asian summer monsoon. Such changes in monsoon dynamics could have substantial impacts by decreasing summer precipitation in key areas of South Asia.
This two-part study proposes a fundamental explanation of the genesis, structure, and implications of lowlevel, meso-␥-scale vortices within quasi-linear convective systems (QLCSs) such as squall lines and bow echoes. Such ''mesovortices'' are observed frequently, at times in association with tornadoes. Idealized experiments with a numerical cloud model show that significant low-level mesovortices develop in simulated QLCSs, especially when the environmental vertical wind shear is above a minimum threshold and when the Coriolis forcing is nonzero. As illustrated by a QLCS simulated in an environment of moderate vertical wind shear, mesovortexgenesis is initiated at low levels by the tilting, in downdrafts, of initially crosswise horizontal baroclinic vorticity. Over a 30-min period, the resultant vortex couplet gives way to a dominant cyclonic vortex as the relative and, more notably, planetary vorticity is stretched vertically; hence, the Coriolis force plays a direct role in the low-level mesovortexgenesis. A downward-directed vertical pressure-gradient force is subsequently induced within the mesovortices, effectively segmenting the previously (nearly) continuous convective line. In moderate-to-strong environmental shear, the simulated QLCSs evolve into bow echoes with ''straight line'' surface winds found at the bow-echo apex and additionally in association with, and in fact induced by, the lowlevel mesovortices. Indeed, the mesovortex winds tend to be stronger, more damaging, and expand in area with time owing to a mesovortex amalgamation or ''upscale'' vortex growth. In weaker environmental shear-in which significant low-level mesovortices tend not to form-damaging surface winds are driven by a rear-inflow jet that descends and spreads laterally at the ground, well behind the gust front.
This two-part study proposes fundamental explanations of the genesis, structure, and implications of lowlevel meso-␥-scale vortices within quasi-linear convective systems (QLCSs) such as squall lines and bow echoes. Such ''mesovortices'' are observed frequently, at times in association with tornadoes. Idealized simulations are used herein to study the structure and evolution of meso-␥-scale surface vortices within QLCSs and their dependence on the environmental vertical wind shear. Within such simulations, significant cyclonic surface vortices are readily produced when the unidirectional shear magnitude is 20 m s Ϫ1 or greater over a 0-2.5-or 0-5-km-AGL layer. As similarly found in observations of QLCSs, these surface vortices form primarily north of the apex of the individual embedded bowing segments as well as north of the apex of the larger-scale bow-shaped system. They generally develop first near the surface but can build upward to 6-8 km AGL. Vortex longevity can be several hours, far longer than individual convective cells within the QLCS; during this time, vortex merger and upscale growth is common. It is also noted that such mesoscale vortices may be responsible for the production of extensive areas of extreme ''straight line'' wind damage, as has also been observed with some QLCSs. Surface vortices are also produced for weaker shears but remain shallow, weak, and short-lived. Although similar in size and strength to mesocyclones associated with supercell storms, and also sometimes producing similar hooklike structures in the rain field, it is also shown that the present vortices are quite distinct, structurally and dynamically. Most critically, such vortices are not associated with long-lived, rotating updrafts at midlevels and the associated strong, dynamically forced vertical accelerations, as occur within supercell mesocyclones.
 We investigate the transient response of severethunderstorm forcing to the time-varying greenhouse gas concentrations associated with the A1B emissions scenario. Using a five-member ensemble of global climate model experiments, we find a positive trend in such forcing within the United States, over the period 1950 -2099. The rate of increase varies by geographic region, depending on (i) lowlevel water vapor availability and transport, and (ii) the frequency of synoptic-scale cyclones during the warm season. Our results indicate that deceleration of the greenhouse gas emissions trajectory would likely result in slower increases in severe thunderstorm forcing. Citation: Trapp, R. J., N. S. Diffenbaugh, and A. Gluhovsky (2009), Transient response of severe thunderstorm forcing to elevated greenhouse gas concentrations,
Postevent damage surveys conducted during the Bow Echo and Mesoscale Convective Vortex Experiment demonstrate that the severe thunderstorm wind reports in Storm Data served as a poor characterization of the actual scope and magnitude of the surveyed damage. Contrasting examples are presented in which a few reports grossly underrepresented a significant event (in terms of property damage and actual areal coverage of damage), while a large number of reports overrepresented a relatively less significant event. Explanations and further discussion of this problem are provided, as are some of the implications, which may include a skewed understanding of how and when systems of thunderstorms cause damage. A number of recommendations pertaining to severe wind reporting are offered.
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