Pseudo-global warming controls on the intensity and morphology of extreme convective storm events

Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 16:30
3006 (Moscone West)
Robert Jeffrey Trapp, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Atmospheric Sciences, Urbana, IL, United States
This research seeks to answer the basic question of how current-day extreme convective storm events might be represented under future anthropogenic climate change. We adapt the “pseudo-global warming” (PGW) methodology employed by Lackmann (2013, 2015) and others, who have investigated flooding and tropical cyclone events under climate change. Here, we exploit coupled atmosphere-ocean GCM data contributed to the CMIP5 archive, and take the mean 3D atmospheric state simulated during May 1990-1999 and subtract it from that simulated during May 2090-2099. Such 3D changes in temperature, humidity, geopotential height, and winds are added to synoptic/meso-scale analyses (NAM-ANL) of specific events, and this modified atmospheric state is then used for initial and boundary conditions for real-data WRF model simulations of the events at high resolution. Comparison of an ensemble of these simulations with control (CTRL) simulations facilitates assessment of PGW effects.

In contrast to the robust development of supercellular convection in our CTRL simulations, the combined effects of increased CIN and decreased forcing under PGW led to a failure of convection initiation in many of our ensemble members. Those members that had sufficient matching between the CIN and forcing tended to generate stronger convective updrafts than in the CTRL simulations, because of the relatively higher CAPE under PGW. And, the members with enhanced updrafts also tended to have enhanced vertical rotation. In fact, such mesocyclonic rotation and attendant supercellular morphology were even found in simulations that were driven with PGW-reduced environmental wind shear.