Projected Characteristic Changes of a Typical Tropical Cyclone under Climate Change in the South West Indian Ocean

Thompson, Callum ; Barthe, Christelle ; Bielli, Soline ; Tulet, Pierre ; Pianezze, Joris

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<p align=justify>During 2 January 2014, Cyclone Bejisa passed near La Réunion in the southwestern Indian Ocean, bringing wind speeds of 41 m s?1, an ocean swell of 7 m, and rainfall accumulations of 1025 mm over 48 h. As a typical cyclone to impact La Réunion, we investigate how the characteristics of this cyclone could change in response to future warming via high-resolution, atmosphere-ocean coupled simulations of Bejisa-like cyclones in historical and future environments. Future environments are constructed using the pseudo global warming method whereby perturbations are added to historical analyses from six Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) climate models. These models follow the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change's (IPCC) Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) RCP8.5 emissions scenario and project ocean surface warming of 1.1-4.2 °C by 2100. Under these conditions, we find that future Bejisa-like cyclones are 6.5% more intense on average and reach their lifetime maximum intensity 2 degrees further poleward. Additionally, future cyclones produce heavier rainfall, with a 33.8% average increase in the median rainrate, and are 9.2% smaller, as measured by the radius of 17.5 m s?1 winds. Furthermore, when surface wind output is used to run an ocean wave model in post, we find a 4.6% increase in the significant wave height.</p>
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