Response of Northern Hemisphere extratropical cyclone activity and associated precipitation to climate change, as represented by the Community Climate System Model



[1] The projected effects of rising CO2 levels on Northern Hemisphere extratropical cyclone activity and cyclone-associated precipitation are examined for September–May, using output from version 3 of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM3). A cyclone identification algorithm was applied to a five member ensemble of CCSM3 20th and 21st century output, along with a method of isolating precipitation produced by each cyclone. Mean seasonal statistics describing cyclone activity and the character of associated precipitation were calculated over several study regions for 20 a periods. The dominant change in cyclone activity is a marked midlatitude decrease in frequency during autumn, winter, and spring. Few significant shifts in storm tracks or cyclone intensity were identified. Total daily precipitation from these events is found to increase into the 21st century, largely because of increases in available atmospheric moisture with rising temperatures. This thermodynamic increase in precipitation leads to large rises in total seasonal cyclone-associated precipitation over high latitudes, while over midlatitudes the thermodynamic increase is offset by the dynamic effect associated with decreased cyclone frequency.