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Modelling Tropical Cyclones: The Seemingly Never-Ending Effort

Paper Reviewed
Camargo, S.J. and Wing, A.A. 2016. Tropical cyclones in climate models. WIREs Climate Change 7: 211-237.

Introducing their work, Camargo and Wing (2016) write that "in the last few years, the climate community has put significant effort into improving the simulation of TCs [tropical cyclones] in climate models." However, they note that "there are still many challenges that need to be addressed, if we want to have more skillful forecasts and robust projections." So what are some of the problems that need to be addressed? And how go the efforts to successfully resolve them?

In the words of the two U.S. researchers, they write that (1) "on seasonal time scales, efforts should be made to move beyond basin-wide forecasts to more societally relevant skillful regional or land-falling forecasts," that (2) "on decadal time scales, the big question is how much skill there is in forecasting the SST [sea surface temperature] patterns that are necessary for doing multi-year TC forecasts," that (3) "the biggest challenge is to obtain reliable projections of future SST changes including their patterns," and to (4) "move beyond global TC projections and toward robust regional changes."

In addition, Camargo and Wing write that (5) "efforts on modeling improvements, from convective parameterizations to new numerical methods and dynamical cores, also need to continue to occur." And "most of all," as they continue, they say that (6) "what is needed is a better theoretical understanding of what sets the frequency of TCs," noting that (7) "we could make much more confident climate change projections if we had a firmer theoretical expectation of what should happen."

In conclusion, therefore, they state that (8) "despite the recent advances, there is still need for a substantial community effort to improve simulation of TCs in climate models on all time scales."

Posted 22 November 2016