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Climate 2018, 6(4), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6040089

Selecting and Downscaling a Set of Climate Models for Projecting Climatic Change for Impact Assessment in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB)

1
Department of Geohydraulics and Engineering Hydrology, University of Kassel, 34125 Kassel, Hessen, Germany
2
Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad Campus, University Road, Tobe Camp, Abbottabad, KP 22060, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 10 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Variability and Change in the 21th Century)
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Abstract

This study focusses on identifying a set of representative climate model projections for the Upper Indus Basin (UIB). Although a large number of General Circulation Models (GCM) predictor sets are available nowadays in the CMIP5 archive, the issue of their reliability for specific regions must still be confronted. This situation makes it imperative to sort out the most appropriate single or small-ensemble set of GCMs for the assessment of climate change impacts in a region. Here a set of different approaches is adopted and applied for the step-wise shortlisting and selection of appropriate climate models for the UIB under two RCPs: RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5, based on: (a) range of projected mean changes, (b) range of projected extreme changes, and (c) skill in reproducing the past climate. Furthermore, because of higher uncertainties in climate projection for high mountainous regions like the UIB, a wider range of future GCM climate projections is considered by using all possible extreme future scenarios (wet-warm, wet-cold, dry-warm, dry-cold). Based on this two-fold procedure, a limited number of climate models is pre-selected, from of which the final selection is done by assigning ranks to the weighted score for each of the mentioned selection criteria. The dynamically downscaled climate projections from the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) available for the top-ranked GCMs are further statistically downscaled (bias-corrected) over the UIB. The downscaled projections up to the year 2100 indicate temperature increases ranging between 2.3 °C and 9.0 °C and precipitation changes that range from a slight annual increase of 2.2% under the drier scenarios to as high as 15.9% in the wet scenarios. Moreover, for all scenarios, future precipitation will be more extreme, as the probability of wet days will decrease, while, at the same time, precipitation intensities will increase. The spatial distribution of the downscaled predictors across the UIB also shows similar patterns for all scenarios, with a distinct precipitation decrease over the south-eastern parts of the basin, but an increase in the northeastern parts. These two features are particularly intense for the “Dry-Warm” and the “Median” scenarios over the late 21st century. View Full-Text
Keywords: GCM; RCM; CMIP5; CORDEX; climate change; climate model selection; upper Indus basin GCM; RCM; CMIP5; CORDEX; climate change; climate model selection; upper Indus basin
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Khan, A.J.; Koch, M. Selecting and Downscaling a Set of Climate Models for Projecting Climatic Change for Impact Assessment in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB). Climate 2018, 6, 89.

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