Nature Communications: Effects of climate change on the movement of future landfalling Texas tropical cyclones

Pedram Hassanzadeh, Chia-Ying Lee, Ebrahim Nabizadeh, Suzana J. Camargo, Ding Ma, and Laurence Y. Yeung

Nature Communications 11 (2020): 3319. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17130-7

Abstract

The movement of tropical cyclones (TCs), particularly around the time of landfall, can substantially affect the resulting damage. Recently, trends in TC translation speed and the likelihood of stalled TCs such as Harvey have received significant attention, but findings have remained inconclusive. Here, we examine how the June-September steering wind and translation speed of landfalling Texas TCs change in the future under anthropogenic climate change. Using several large-ensemble/multi-model datasets, we find pronounced regional variations in the meridional steering wind response over North America, but―consistently across models―stronger June-September-averaged northward steering winds over Texas. A cluster analysis of daily wind patterns shows more frequent circulation regimes that steer landfalling TCs northward in the future. Downscaling experiments show a 10-percentage-point shift from the slow-moving to the fast-moving end of the translation-speed distribution in the future. Together, these analyses indicate increases in the likelihood of faster-moving landfalling Texas TCs in the late 21st century.

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