Increased Frequency of Extreme Tropical Deep Convection: AIRS Observations and Climate Model Predictions
Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data from the tropical oceans (30N‐30S) is used to derive the probability of the process resulting in Deep Convective Clouds (DCC) 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% per K of warming of the oceans. This sensitivity is not inconsistent with the sensitivity of the increase of extreme deep convective rain in the NCAR CAM5 model for a warmer SST. The mean of the 36 CMIP5 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.