Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data from the tropical oceans (30°N to 30°S) are used to derive the probability of the process resulting in deep convective clouds (DCCs) as function of the sea surface temperature (SST). For DCC at or below the tropopause the onset temperature of this process shifts at the same rate as the increase in the mean SST. For tropopause overshooting DCC, which are associated with extreme rain events, the shift of the onset temperature is slower, causing their frequency to increase by about 21%/K of warming of the oceans. This sensitivity is not inconsistent with the sensitivity of the increase of extreme deep convective rain in the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model version 5 model for a warmer SST. The mean of the 36 fifth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project models predicts a 2.7 K warmer tropical SST by the end of this century, resulting in a 60% increases in the frequency of tropopause overshooting DCC.
- climate models
- climate sensitivity
- severe storms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)