Near future (2016-40) summer precipitation changes over China as projected by a regional climate model (RCM) under the RCP8.5 emissions scenario: Comparison between RCM downscaling and the driving GCM

Zou, Liwei; Zhou, Tianjun
May 2013
Advances in Atmospheric Sciences;May2013, Vol. 30 Issue 3, p806
Academic Journal
Multi-decadal high resolution simulations over the CORDEX East Asia domain were performed with the regional climate model RegCM3 nested within the Flexible Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land System model, Grid-point Version 2 (FGOALS-g2). Two sets of simulations were conducted at the resolution of 50 km, one for present day (1980-2005) and another for near-future climate (2015-40) under the Representative Concentration Pathways 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario. Results show that RegCM3 adds value with respect to FGOALS-g2 in simulating the spatial patterns of summer total and extreme precipitation over China for present day climate. The major deficiency is that RegCM3 underestimates both total and extreme precipitation over the Yangtze River valley. The potential changes in total and extreme precipitation over China in summer under the RCP8.5 scenario were analyzed. Both RegCM3 and FGOALS-g2 results show that total and extreme precipitation tend to increase over northeastern China and the Tibetan Plateau, but tend to decrease over southeastern China. In both RegCM3 and FGOALS-g2, the change in extreme precipitation is weaker than that for total precipitation. RegCM3 projects much stronger amplitude of total and extreme precipitation changes and provides more regional-scale features than FGOALS-g2. A large uncertainty is found over the Yangtze River valley, where RegCM3 and FGOALS-g2 project opposite signs in terms of precipitation changes. The projected change of vertically integrated water vapor flux convergence generally follows the changes in total and extreme precipitation in both RegCM3 and FGOALS-g2, while the amplitude of change is stronger in RegCM3. Results suggest that the spatial pattern of projected precipitation changes may be more affected by the changes in water vapor flux convergence, rather than moisture content itself.


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