Climate2015, 3(1), 150-167; doi:10.3390/cli3010150 - published 20 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Changes in annual rainfall in five sub-regions of the Argentine Pampa Region (Rolling, Central, Mesopotamian, Flooding and Southern) were examined for the period 1941 to 2010 using data from representative locations in each sub-region. Dubious series were adjusted by means of a homogeneity test and changes in mean value were evaluated using a hydrometeorological time series segmentation method. In addition, an association was sought between shifts in mean annual rainfall and changes in large-scale atmospheric pressure systems, as measured by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). The results indicate that the Western Pampas (Central and Southern) are more vulnerable to abrupt changes in average annual rainfall than the Eastern Pampas (Mesopotamian, Rolling and Flooding). Their vulnerability is further increased by their having the lowest average rainfall. The AMO showed significant negative correlations with all sub-regions, while the PDO and SOI showed significant positive and negative correlations respectively with the Central, Flooding and Southern Pampa. The fact that the PDO and AMO are going through the phases of their cycles that tend to reduce rainfall in much of the Pampas helps explain the lower rainfall recorded in the Western Pampas sub-regions in recent years. This has had a significant impact on agriculture and the environment.
Climate2015, 3(1), 135-149; doi:10.3390/cli3010135 - published 13 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Predicting the future climate and its impacts on the global environment is model based, presenting a level of uncertainty. Alternative robust approaches of analyzing high volume climate data to reveal underlying regional and local trends are increasingly incorporating satellite data. This study uses a centered log-ratio (clr) transformation approach and robust principal component analysis (PCA), on a long-term Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset to test its applicability in analyzing large multi-temporal data, and potential to recognize important trends and patterns in regional climate. Twenty five years of NDVI data derived by Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) from 1982 to 2006 were extracted for 88 subwatersheds in central Kenya and statistically analyzed. Untransformed (raw) and clr transformed NDVI data were evaluated using robust PCA. The robust PCA compositional biplots of the clr transformed long-term NDVI data demonstrated the finest spatial-temporal display of observations identifying climate related events that impacted vegetation activity and observed variations in greenness. The responses were interpreted as normal conditions, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events of El Niño and La Niña, and drought events known to influence the moisture level and precipitation patterns (high, low, normal) and therefore the level of vegetation greenness (NDVI value). More drought events (4) were observed between 1990 and 2006, a finding corroborated by several authors and linked to increasing climate variability. Results are remarkable, emphasizing the need for appropriate data transformation prior to PCA, dealing with huge complex datasets, to enhance pattern recognition and meaningful interpretation of results. Through improved analysis of past data, uncertainty is decreased in modeling future trends.
Climate2015, 3(1), 118-132; doi:10.3390/cli3010118 - published 7 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Lack of suitable observational data makes bias correction of high space and time resolution regional climate models (RCM) problematic. We present a method to construct pseudo-observational precipitation data bymerging a large scale constrained RCMreanalysis downscaling simulation with coarse time and space resolution observations. The large scale constraint synchronizes the inner domain solution to the driving reanalysis model, such that the simulated weather is similar to observations on a monthly time scale. Monthly biases for each single month are corrected to the corresponding month of the observational data, and applied to the finer temporal resolution of the RCM. A low-pass filter is applied to the correction factors to retain the small spatial scale information of the RCM. The method is applied to a 12.5 km RCM simulation and proven successful in producing a reliable pseudo-observational data set. Furthermore, the constructed data set is applied as reference in a quantile mapping bias correction, and is proven skillful in retaining small scale information of the RCM, while still correcting the large scale spatial bias. The proposed method allows bias correction of high resolution model simulations without changing the fine scale spatial features, i.e., retaining the very information required by many impact models.
Climate2015, 3(1), 100-117; doi:10.3390/cli3010100 - published 26 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The influence of future climate change on the occurrence of heat waves and its implications for heat wave-related mortality due to ischemic heart diseases (IHD) in Germany is studied. Simulations of 19 regional climate models with a spatial resolution of 0.25° × 0.25° forced by the moderate climate change scenario A1B are analyzed. Three model time periods of 30 years are evaluated, representing present climate (1971–2000), near future climate (2021–2050), and remote future climate (2069–2098). Heat waves are defined as periods of at least three consecutive days with daily mean air temperature above the 97.5th percentile of the all-season temperature distribution. Based on the model simulations, future heat waves in Germany will be significantly more frequent, longer lasting and more intense. By the end of the 21st century, the number of heat waves will be tripled compared to present climate. Additionally, the average duration of heat waves will increase by 25%, accompanied by an increase of the average temperature during heat waves by about 1 K. Regional analyses show that stronger than average climate change effects are observed particularly in the southern regions of Germany. Furthermore, we investigated climate change impacts on IHD mortality in Germany applying temperature projections from 19 regional climate models to heat wave mortality relationships identified in a previous study. Future IHD excess deaths were calculated both in the absence and presence of some acclimatization (i.e., that people are able to physiologically acclimatize to enhanced temperature levels in the future time periods by 0% and 50%, respectively). In addition to changes in heat wave frequency, we incorporated also changes in heat wave intensity and duration into the future mortality evaluations. The results indicate that by the end of the 21st century the annual number of IHD excess deaths in Germany attributable to heat waves is expected to rise by factor 2.4 and 5.1 in the acclimatization and non-acclimatization approach, respectively. Even though there is substantial variability across the individual model simulations, it is most likely that the future burden of heat will increase considerably. The obtained results point to public health interventions to reduce the vulnerability of the population to heat waves.
Climate2015, 3(1), 78-99; doi:10.3390/cli3010078 - published 24 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper provides a holistic literature review of climate change and variability in Ghana by examining the impact and projections of climate change and variability in various sectors (agricultural, health and energy) and its implication on ecology, land use, poverty and welfare. The findings suggest that there is a projected high temperature and low rainfall in the years 2020, 2050 and 2080, and desertification is estimated to be proceeding at a rate of 20,000 hectares per annum. Sea-surface temperatures will increase in Ghana’s waters and this will have drastic effects on fishery. There will be a reduction in the suitability of weather within the current cocoa-growing areas in Ghana by 2050 and an increase evapotranspiration of the cocoa trees. Furthermore, rice and rooted crops (especially cassava) production are expected to be low. Hydropower generation is also at risk and there will be an increase in the incidence rate of measles, diarrheal cases, guinea worm infestation, malaria, cholera, cerebro-spinal meningitis and other water related diseases due to the current climate projections and variability. These negative impacts of climate change and variability worsens the plight of the poor, who are mostly women and children.