Projected future changes in tropical cyclone-related wave climate in the North Atlantic

Belmadani, Ali ; Dalphinet, Alice ; Chauvin, Fabrice ; Pilon, Romain ; Palany, Philippe

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Tropical cyclones are a major hazard for numerous countries surrounding the tropical-to-subtropical North Atlantic sub-basin including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Their intense winds, which can exceed 300 km h-1, can cause serious damage, particularly along coastlines where the combined action of waves, currents and low atmospheric pressure leads to storm surge and coastal flooding. This work presents future projections of North Atlantic tropical cyclone-related wave climate. A new configuration of the ARPEGE-Climat global atmospheric model on a stretched grid reaching ~14 km resolution to the north-east of the eastern Caribbean is able to reproduce the distribution of tropical cyclone winds, including Category 5 hurricanes. Historical (1984-2013, 5 members) and future (2051-2080, 5 members) simulations with the IPCC RCP8.5 scenario are used to drive the MFWAM (Météo-France Wave Action Model) spectral wave model over the Atlantic basin during the hurricane season. An intermediate 50-km resolution grid is used to propagate mid-latitude swells into a higher 10-km resolution grid over the tropical cyclone main development region. Wave model performance is evaluated over the historical period with the ERA5 reanalysis and satellite altimetry data. Future projections exhibit a modest but widespread reduction in seasonal mean wave heights in response to weakening subtropical anticyclone, yet marked increases in tropical cyclone-related wind sea and extreme wave heights within a large region extending from the African coasts to the North American continent.</p>

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