Frequency of severe storms and global warming



[1] We use five years of data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) to develop a correlation between the frequency of Deep Convective Clouds (DCC) and the zonal mean tropical surface temperature. AIRS data show that the frequency of DCC in the tropical oceans is very temperature sensitive, increasing 45% per 1 K increase of the zonal mean surface temperature. The combination of the sensitivity of the DCC frequency to temperature indicates that the frequency of DCC, and as a consequence the frequency of severe storms, increases at the rate of 6%/decade with the current +0.13 K/decade rate of global warming. This result is only qualitatively consistent with state-of-the-art climate models, where the frequency of the most intense rain events increases with global warming.