Tropical Cyclone Intensity Increase near Australia as a Result of Climate Change

Idealized tropical cyclones are inserted into a regional climate model and the resulting intensity evolution of the storms is examined under current and enhanced greenhouse climates. The regional climate model is implemented over a model domain near Australia. In general, storm intensities increase under enhanced greenhouse conditions, although these increases are mostly not statistically significant. The simulated intensities are compared to theoretically derived estimates of maximum potential intensity. The theoretical estimates are mostly larger than the simulated intensities, suggesting that other factors may be limiting the intensification of the storms. Two such factors are suggested: the limited horizontal resolution of the storm simulations and the presence of vertical wind shear. Significant regression relations are demonstrated between maximum intensity of the simulated storms as predicted by sea surface temperature and vertical wind shear variations, while much weaker relationships are shown between maximum intensity and sea surface temperature alone. This suggests that dynamical influences such as vertical wind shear, which are not included in theoretical estimates of maximum potential intensity, act to restrict the development of the storm and thereby its maximum intensity.