Apr 17, 2013

Monitoring and Understanding Changes in Extremes: Extratropical Storms, Winds, and Waves

Thomas C. Peterson, Thomas R. Karl, James P. Kossin, Kenneth E. Kunkel, Jay H. Lawrimore, James R. McMahon, Russell S. Vose, Xungang Yin.
American Meteorological Society
  • Examines changes in three climate extremes—extratropical storms, winds, and waves—with an emphasis on U.S. coastal regions during the cold season
  • Finds moderate evidence of an increase in both extratropical storm frequency and intensity during the cold season in the Northern Hemisphere since 1950, with suggestive evidence of geographic shifts resulting in slight upward trends in offshore/coastal regions
  • Also finds suggestive evidence of an increase in extreme winds (at least annually) over parts of the ocean since the early to mid-1980s, but the evidence over the U.S. land surface is inconclusive
  • Finds there is moderate evidence of an increase in extreme waves in winter along the Pacific coast since the 1950s, but along other U.S. shorelines any tendencies are of modest magnitude compared with historical variability
  • Notes the data for extratropical cyclones are considered to be of relatively high quality for trend detection, whereas the data for extreme winds and waves are judged to be of intermediate quality
  • Notes that in terms of physical causes leading to multidecadal changes, the level of understanding for both extratropical storms and extreme winds is considered to be relatively low, while that for extreme waves is judged to be intermediate