All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Climatological Characteristics of Historical and Future High-Wind Events in Alaska

DOI: 10.4236/acs.2018.84025, PP. 373-394

Keywords: Extreme Winds, Station Data, CMIP5, Wind Climatology, Alaskan Climate

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


High winds cause waves, storm surge, erosion and physical damage to infrastructure and ecosystems. However, there have been few evaluations of wind climatologies and future changes, especially change in high-wind events, on a regional basis. This study uses Alaska as a regional case study of climatological wind speed and direction. Eleven first-order stations across different subregions of Alaska provide historical data (1975-2005) for the observational climatology and for the calibration of Coupled Model Inter comparison Project (CMIP5) simulations, which in turn provide projections of changes in winds through 2100. Historically, winds exceeding 25 and 35 knots are most common in the Bering Sea coastal region of Alaska, followed by northern Alaska coastal areas. Autumn and winter are the seasons of most frequent high-wind occurrences in the coastal sites, while there is no distinct seasonal peak at the interior stations where high-wind events are less frequent. An examination of the sea level pressure pattern associated with the highest-wind event at each station reveals the presence of a strong pressure gradient associated with an extratropical cyclone in most cases. Northern coastal regions of Alaska are projected to experience increased frequencies of high-wind events during the cold season, especially late autumn and early winter, when reduced sea ice cover in the late century will leave coastal regions increasingly vulnerable to flooding and erosion.


[1]  Simmonds, I. and Rudeva, I. (2012) The Great Arctic Cyclone of August 2012. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L23709.
[2]  Parkinson, C.L. and Comiso, J.C. (2013) On the 2012 Record Low Sea Ice Cover: Combined Impact of Preconditioning and an August Storm. Geophysical Research Letters, 40, 1356-1361.
[3]  Melillo, J., Richmond T. and Yohe, G., Eds. (2014) USGCRP, 2014: Climate Change Impacts in the United States Tech. Rep. US Global Change Research Program, Washington DC.
[4]  Knudsen, E.M. and Walsh, J.E. (2016) Evaluation of Northern Hemisphere Storminess in the Norwegian Earth System Model. Geoscientific Model Development, 9, 2335-2555.
[5]  Collins, M., Knutti, R., Arblaster, A.M., Dufresne, J.L., Fichefet, T., Friedlingstein, P., Gao, X., Gutowski, W.J., Johns, T., Krinner, G., Shongwe, M., Tebaldi, C., Weaver, A.J. and Wehner, M. (2013) Long-Term Climate Change: Projections, Commitments and Irreversibility. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[6]  AMAP (2017) Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic: 2017 Update. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, Oslo, xiv + 269 p.
[7]  Bekryaev, R., Polyakov, I. and Alexeev, V. (2010) Role of Polar Amplification in Long-Term Surface Air Temperature Variations and Modern Arctic Warming. Journal of Climate, 23, 3888-3906.
[8]  AMAP (2011) Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, Oslo, Norway, xii + 538 p.
[9]  Stocker, B.D., Roth, R., Joos, F., Spahni, R., Steinacher, M., Zaehle, S., Bouwman, L., Xu, R. and Prentice, I.C. (2013) Multiple Greenhouse-Gas Feedbacks from the Land Biosphere under Future Climate Change Scenarios. Nature Climate Change, 3, 666-672.
[10]  AMAP (2005) Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, Oslo, 1042 p.
[11]  Harvey, B.J., Shaffrey, L.C. and Woolings, T.J. (2015) Equator-to-Pole Temperature Differences and the Extra-Tropical Storm Track Responses of the CMIP5 Climate Models. Climate Dynamics, 43, 1171-1182.
[12]  Ulbrich, U., Leckebusch, G.C. and Pinto, J.G. (2009) Extra-Tropical Cyclones in the Present and Future Climate: A Review. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 96, 117-131.
[13]  Barnes, E.A. and Screen, J.A. (2015) The Impact of Arctic Warming on the Midlatitude Jet-Stream: Can It? Has It? Will It? WIREs Climate Change, 6, 277-286.
[14]  Basu, S., Zhang, X. and Wang, Z. (2018) Eurasian Winter Storm Activity at the End of the Century: A CMIP5 Multi-Model Ensemble Projection. Earth’s Future, 6, 61-70.
[15]  Zhang, X., Walsh, J.E., Zhang, J., Bhatt, U.S. and Ikeda, M. (2004) Climatology and Interannual Variability of Arctic Cyclone Activity, 1948-2002. Journal of Climate, 17, 2300-2317.<2300:CAIVOA>2.0.CO;2
[16]  McCabe, G., Clark, M. and Serreze, M. (2001) Trends in Northern Hemisphere Surface Cyclone Frequency and Intensity. Journal of Climate, 14, 2763-2768.<2763:TINHSC>2.0.CO;2
[17]  Wang, X., Swail, V. and Zwiers, F. (2006) Climatology and Changes of Extratropical Cyclone Activity: Comparison of ERA-40 with NCEP-NCAR Reanalysis for 1958-2001. Journal of Climate, 19, 3145-3166.
[18]  Wang, X., Feng, Y., Compo, G., Swail, V., Zwiers, F., Allen, R. and Sardeshmukh, P. (2013) Trends and Low Frequency Variability of Extra-Tropical Cyclone Activity in the Ensemble of Twentieth Century Reanalysis. Climate Dynamics, 40, 2775-2800.
[19]  Mesquita, M., Atkinson, D. and Hodges, K. (2010) Trends in Northern Hemisphere Surface Cyclone Frequency and Intensity. Journal of Climate, 14, 2763-27678.
[20]  Karl, T.R., Melillo, J.M. and Peterson, T.C. (2009) Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[21]  Moss, R.H., Edmonds, J.A., Hibbard, K.A., Manning, M.R., Rose, S.K., van Vuuren, D.P., Carter, T.R., Emori, S., Kainuma, M., Kram, T., Meehl, G.A., Mitchell, J.F., Nakicenovic, N., Riahi, K., Smith, S.J., Stouffer, R.J., Thomson, A.M., Weyant, J.P. and Wilbanks, T.J. (2010) The Next Generation of Scenarios for Climate Change Research and Assessment. Nature, 463, 747-756.
[22]  Walsh, J.E., Chapman, W.L., Romanovsky, V., Christensen, J.H. and Stendel, M. (2008) Global Climate Model Performance over Alaska and Greenland. Journal of Climate, 21, 6156-6174.
[23]  Lader, R., Walsh, J.E., Bhatt, U.S. and Bieniek, P.A. (2017) Projections of Twenty-First-Century Climate Extremes for Alaska via Dynamical Downscaling and Quantile Mapping. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 56, 2393-2409.
[24]  Hayhoe, K. (2010) A Standardized Framework for Evaluating the Skill of Regional Climate Downscaling Techniques. PhD Thesis, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, 153 p.
[25]  Bureau of Reclamation (2013) Downscaled CMIP3 and CMIP5 Climate Projections Release of Downscaled CMIP5 Climate Projections, Comparison with Preceding Information, and Summary of User Needs. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 104 p.
[26]  Walsh, J.E., Bhatt, U.S., Littell, J.S., Leonawicz, M., Lindgren, M.A., Kurkowski, T.A., Bieniek, P., Thoman, R., Gray, S. and Rupp, T.S. (2018) Downscaling of Climate Model Output for Alaskan stakeholders. Environmental Modeling and Software.
[27]  Serreze, M.C. and Barrett, A.P. (2011) Characteristics of the Beaufort Sea High. Journal of Climate, 24, 159-182.
[28]  Gleicher, K.J., Walsh, J.E. and Chapman, W.L. (2011) A Vorticity-Based Analysis of the Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of the Beaufort Anticyclone. Journal of Geophysical Research (Armospheres), 116, D18115.
[29]  Day, J.J. and Hodges, K.I. (2018) Growing Land-Sea Temperature Contrast and Intensification or Arctic Cyclones. Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 3673-3681.


comments powered by Disqus