1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
2Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, NOAA, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
3Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
*now at: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
**now at: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
Abstract. Prior work indicates that the frequency of summertime mid-latitude cyclones tracking across the Great Lakes Storm Track (GLST, bounded by: 70° W, 90° W, 40° N, and 50° N) are strongly anticorrelated with ozone (O3) pollution episodes over the Northeastern United States (US). We apply the MAP Climatology of Mid-latitude Storminess (MCMS) algorithm to 6-hourly sea level pressure fields from over 2500 yr of simulations with the GFDL CM3 global coupled chemistry-climate model. These simulations include (1) 875 yr with constant 1860 emissions and forcings (Pre-industrial Control), (2) five ensemble members for 1860–2005 emissions and forcings (Historical), and (3) future (2006–2100) scenarios following the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP 8.5 (one member; extreme warming); RCP 4.5 (three members; moderate warming); RCP 4.5* (one member; a variation on RCP 4.5 in which only well-mixed greenhouse gases evolve along the RCP 4.5 trajectory)). The GFDL CM3 Historical simulations capture the mean and variability of summertime cyclones traversing the GLST within the range determined from four reanalysis datasets. Over the 21st century (2006–2100), the frequency of summertime mid-latitude cyclones in the GLST decreases under the RCP 8.5 scenario (m = −0.06 a−1, p < 0.01) and in the RCP 4.5 ensemble mean (m = −0.03 a−1, p < 0.01). These trends are significant when assessed relative to the variability in the Pre-industrial Control simulation (p > 0.06 for 100-yr sampling intervals; −0.01 a−1 < m < 0.02 a−1). In addition, the RCP 4.5* scenario enables us to determine the relationship between summertime GLST cyclones and high-O3 events (>95th percentile) in the absence of emission changes. The summertime GLST cyclone frequency explains less than 10% of the variability in high-O3 events over the Northeastern US in the model. Our findings imply that careful study is required prior to applying the strong relationship noted in earlier work to changes in storm counts.