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Future precipitation changes over China under 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C global warming targets by using CORDEX regional climate models

Li, Huixin, Chen, Huopo, Wang, Huijun, Yu, Entao
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.640-641 pp. 543-554
climate, climate models, global warming, risk, temperature, China
This study aims to characterize future changes in precipitation extremes over China based on regional climate models (RCMs) participating in the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX)-East Asia project. The results of five RCMs involved in CORDEX-East Asia project that driven by HadGEM2-AO are compared with the simulation of CMA-RegCM driven by BCC-CSM1.1. Eleven precipitation extreme indices that developed by the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices are employed to evaluate precipitation extreme changes over China. Generally, RCMs can reproduce their spatiotemporal characteristics over China in comparison with observations. For future climate projections, RCMs indicate that both the occurrence and intensity of precipitation extremes in most regions of China will increase when the global temperature increases by 1.5/2.0 °C. The yearly maximum five-day precipitation (RX5D) averaged over China is reported to increase by 4.4% via the CMA-RegCM under the 1.5 °C warming in comparison with the baseline period (1986–2005); however, a relatively large increase of 11.1% is reported by the multi-model ensemble median (MME) when using the other five models. Furthermore, the reoccurring risks of precipitation extremes over most regions of China will further increase due to the additional 0.5 °C warming. For example, RX5D will further increase by approximately 8.9% over NWC, 3.8% over NC, 2.3% over SC, and approximately 1.0% over China. Extremes, such as the historical 20-year return period event of yearly maximum one-day precipitation (RX1D) and RX5D, will become more frequent, with occurrences happening once every 8.8 years (RX1D) and 11.5 years (RX5D) under the 1.5 °C warming target, and there will be two fewer years due to the additional 0.5 °C warming. In addition, the intensity of these events will increase by approximately 9.2% (8.5%) under the 1.5 °C warming target and 12.6% (11.0%) under the 2.0 °C warming target for RX1D (RX5D).