EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Contribution of anthropogenic aerosols to changes in the Northern Hemisphere storm tracks during the 20th and 21st centuries

Kerry Black1, Ioana Colfescu2, and Massimo Bollasina1
Kerry Black et al.
  • 1School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 2National Centre for Atmospheric Science, United Kingdom

Midlatitude storm tracks are a key component of the global atmospheric circulation. Extratropical cyclones associated with and evolving along the storm tracks dominate the day‐to‐day weather variability in the mid-latitudes, and changes in storm track activity or location strongly impact regional climate variations. Baroclinic waves that form the storm tracks are also responsible for transporting much of the heat, moisture, and momentum poleward in the midlatitudes. Therefore, investigating how storm tracks may respond to future changes in anthropogenic forcing is of significant interest. Yet, while most of the studies have focused on the role of increased greenhouse gases and the associated response at the end of the 21st century, the role of anthropogenic aerosols has been comparatively less studied. Furthermore, identifying robust changes in the atmospheric circulation is challenging and a major source of uncertainty in climate projections given the variety of responses in different models. This study aims to address these two aspects, benefitting from the use of large ensembles of single forcing experiments for the historical period and the future under RCP8.5, which allow to better identify the contribution of internal variability and its interplay with external forcing. We will discuss changes of the northern hemisphere storm tracks over both the Atlantic and Pacific regions, disentangle the contribution of anthropogenic aerosol changes, and build a physical link with large-scale circulation and surface climate over the two-basins.

How to cite: Black, K., Colfescu, I., and Bollasina, M.: Contribution of anthropogenic aerosols to changes in the Northern Hemisphere storm tracks during the 20th and 21st centuries, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10015,, 2021.

Display materials

Display file

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion