Volume 91 (2013) Issue 4 Pages 431-452
In line with the experimental design for near-term climate prediction toward the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we perform ensembles of initialized decadal hindcast and near-future projection using three versions of the coupled atmosphere-ocean model MIROC. In the present study, we explore interannual and multiyear predictability of tropical cyclone (TC) activity in the western North Pacific (WNP) using the initialized hindcasts and examine global warming impacts on TC activity in the near-future on the basis of near-future projections up to 2035.
The hindcasts of year-to-year variation in TC number capture the observed values reasonably well. Moreover, interannual variability of TC genesis and occurrence frequency associated with the El Niño Southern Oscillation are found to be predictable, mainly through better prediction of sea surface temperature (SST) and large-scale vorticity anomalies in the lower troposphere. These results indicate that the models can reproduce the major basic mechanisms that link TC genesis with large-scale circulation. Skillful prediction of TC number is likely difficult on multiyear timescales, at least based on our hindcasts, but through initializations, the three-year-mean hindcasts from 1998 onward reasonably capture observed major characteristics of TC activity associated with Pacific climate shift during the late 1990s.
Near-future projections (2016-2035) suggest significant reductions (approximately 14%) in TC number, particularly over the western part of the WNP, even under scenarios in which projected global warming is less prominent than that at the end of this century. This reduction is likely due to the suppression of large-scale lower tropospheric vorticity and relative humidity and the enhancement of vertical wind shear. The projected SST exhibits a more pronounced warming over the eastern tropical Pacific than over the western region and accompanies the weakening of Walker circulation via redistribution of tropical convection activity, which appears to be responsible for the change in the large-scale fields in the WNP.