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Impact of warmer sea surface temperature on the global pattern of intense convection: insights from a global storm resolving model
  • +6
  • Kai-Yuan Cheng,
  • Lucas Harris,
  • Christopher S. Bretherton,
  • Timothy M Merlis,
  • Maximilien Bolot,
  • Linjiong Zhou,
  • Alex Kaltenbaugh,
  • Spencer Koncius Clark,
  • Stephan Fueglistaler
Kai-Yuan Cheng
Princeton University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Lucas Harris
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Christopher S. Bretherton
Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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Timothy M Merlis
Princeton University
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Maximilien Bolot
Princeton University
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Linjiong Zhou
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
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Alex Kaltenbaugh
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Spencer Koncius Clark
Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence / NOAA-GFDL
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Stephan Fueglistaler
Princeton University
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Intense convection (updrafts exceeding 10 m∙s-1) plays an essential role in severe weather and Earth’s energy balance. Despite its importance, how the global pattern of intense convection changes in response to warmed climates remains unclear, as simulations from traditional climate models are too coarse to simulate intense convection. Here we take advantage of a kilometer-scale global storm resolving model and conduct year-long simulations of a control run, forced by analyzed sea surface temperature (SST), and one with a 4-K increase in SST for comparison. Comparisons show that the increased SST enhances the frequency of intense convection globally with large spatial and seasonal variations. Increases in the intense convection frequency do not necessarily reflect increases in convective available potential energy (CAPE). Results are also compared with traditional climate model projections. Changes in the spatial pattern of intense convection are associated with changes in planetary circulation.