Hurricanesareamongthemostdestructiveextremeweathereventsaffecting humanity, in both social and economic terms. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017 with the most rainfall to hit the country from a hurricane in 40 years, whilst secondary impacts such as ﬂooding, landslides and disease were estimated to have claimed over a thousand lives. Since a large proportion of the Caribbean’s coastal communities are affected by these systemsandparticularlyvulnerabletotheirimpact,itiscriticalthatwedevelop an understanding of whether hurricane activity and associated impacts will change as a result of a warming climate – and if so, how – such that these countriescanbeinformedwhenpreparingfortheimpactsofclimatechange. This thesis explores the inﬂuence of a 1.5◦C and 2◦C global warming above the pre-industrial average (the Paris Agreement scenarios) on hurricane rainfall using a dynamical hurricane model applied to future projection simulations from four global circulation models (GCMs). Results indicatethatextremehurricanerainfalleventsaffectingtheCaribbeanregionare more likely in the Paris Agreement scenarios. The Eastern Caribbean region displays a strong global warming signal for example, a rainfall event consistent with hurricane Maria is 57% more likely in the Paris Agreement goal of 2◦C compared to the present climate. Overall, rainfall events resonant with hurricanes,Irma,GeorgesandMatthewbecomemorelikelyunderbothParis Agreement scenarios compared to the present climate. The likelihood of a hurricane with rainfall matching or exceeding that of hurricane Ivan, which hit Jamaica in 2004, does not largely differ between scenarios. Itshouldbenotedthatalargebiaswaspresentintherainfallestimations. Though bias was corrected by applying a correction factor to ﬁt estimations to observed return periods of hurricane rainfall events, readers should be aware of reduced conﬁdence in the results.
|Date of Award||28 Nov 2019|
- The University of Bristol
|Supervisor||Paul J Valdes (Supervisor) & Dann M Mitchell (Supervisor)|