reference : The effect of global warming on severe thunderstorms in the United States

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/reference/fd4a05f9-9465-49d5-8645-6ea98130ce7f
Bibliographic fields
reftype Journal Article
Abstract How will warming temperatures influence thunderstorm severity? This question can be explored by using climate models to diagnose changes in large-scale convective instability (CAPE) and wind shear, conditions that are known to be conducive to the formation of severe thunderstorms. First, an ensemble of climate models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) is evaluated on its ability to reproduce a radiosonde climatology of such storm-favorable conditions in the current climate’s spring and summer seasons, focusing on the contiguous United States (CONUS). Of the 11 climate models evaluated, a high-performing subset of four (GFDL CM3, GFDL-ESM2M, MRI-CGCM3, and NorESM1-M) is identified. Second, the twenty-first-century changes in the frequency of environments favorable to severe thunderstorms are calculated in these high-performing models as they are forced by the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 emissions pathways. For the RCP8.5 scenario, the models predict consistent CONUS-mean fractional springtime increases in the range of 50%–180% by the end of the twenty-first century; for the summer, three of the four models predict increases in the range of 40%–120% and one model predicts a small decrease. This disagreement between the models is traced to divergent projections for future CAPE and boundary layer humidity in the Great Plains. This paper also explores the sensitivity of the results to the relative weight given to wind shear in determining how “favorable” a large-scale environment is for the development of severe thunderstorms, and it is found that this weighting is not the dominant source of uncertainty in projections of future thunderstorm severity.
Author Jacob T. Seeley; David M. Romps
DOI 10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00382.1
Issue 6
Journal Journal of Climate
Keywords Convective storms,Wind shear,CAPE,Climate change,Hail
Pages 2443-2458
Title The effect of global warming on severe thunderstorms in the United States
Volume 28
Year 2015
Bibliographic identifiers
.reference_type 0
_record_number 19760
_uuid fd4a05f9-9465-49d5-8645-6ea98130ce7f