Will extratropical cyclones along the U.S. East Coast be less common in a warmer climate?

  • 13 July 2015
  • Number of views: 2095

A new paper titled “A Review of Historical and Future Changes of Extratropical Cyclones and Associated Impacts Along the U.S. East Coast”, which was supported by the NOAA Climate Program Office’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections (MAPP) Program, has been published as part of a “Topical Collection on Extreme Events” in the academic journal Current Climate Change Reports.

This study by Drs. Brian Colle (Stony Brook University), James Booth (City University of New York, City College), and Edmund Chang (Stony Brook University) reviews historical and future behavior of U.S. East Coast extratropical cyclones, which cause much of the extreme weather that affects that region.

Based on a consensus of climate model projection studies, extratropical cyclones affecting the U.S. East Coast are likely to become less frequent between now and the end of the twenty-first century. On the other hand, climate model projections are mixed when it comes to intense extratropical cyclones (cyclones featuring deep low pressure centers) and associated heavy precipitation events, with some climate models indicating that they will be more common, and others indicating that they will be less common.

In the paper, the researchers point out that projections of extratropical cyclone behavior in a future climate should be used with caution because climate models may have difficulty capturing how the behavior of cyclones is influenced by changes in the Gulf Stream, by heating generated by clouds and precipitation within cyclones, and by complex interactions between cyclones and the jet stream.

To read the paper, visit: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40641-015-0013-7/fulltext.html




Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.


Climate Program Office
1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, MD 20910