skip to main content


Title: Is land use producing robust signals in future projections from Earth system models, all else being equal?
Abstract

We use six Earth system models (ESMs) run under SSP3-7.0, a scenario characterized by a relatively large land use change (LUC) over the 21st century, and under a variant of the same scenario where a significantly different pattern of LUC, taken from SSP1-2.6, was used, all else being equal. Our goal is to identify changes in climate extremes between the two scenarios that are statistically significant and robust across the ESMs. The motivation for this study is to test a long-held assumption of the shared socio-economic pathway-representative concentration pathway (SSP-RCP) scenario framework: that the signal from LUC can be safely disregarded when pairing different SSPs to the compatible RCPs, where compatibility only considers global radiative forcing, predominantly determined by well-mixed greenhouse gasses emissions. We analyze extremes of daily minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation, after fitting non-stationary generalized extreme value distributions in a way that borrows strength along the length of the simulation (2015–2100) and across initial condition ensembles. We consider changes in the 20 year return levels (RL20s) of these metrics by 2100, and focus on eight locations where LUC is large within each scenario, and strongly differs between scenarios, averaging the RL20s over a neighborhood characterized by the same LUC to enhance the signal to noise. We find that precipitation extremes do not show significant differences attributable to LUC differences. For temperature extremes (cold and hot) results are mixed, with some location-index combination showing significant results for some of the ESMs but not all, and not many coherent changes appearing for indices across regions, or regions across indices. These ESMs are representative of what is typically adopted as the source of climate information for impact studies, when the SSP-RCP framework is put to use. Overall, our analysis suggests that the hypothesis to pair SSPs to RCPs in a flexible fashion is overall defensible. However, the appearance of some coherence in a few locations and for some indices invites further investigation.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10431921
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
IOP Publishing
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Volume:
18
Issue:
8
ISSN:
1748-9326
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Article No. 084009
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    To better understand the role projected land‐use changes (LUCs) may play in future regional climate projections, we assess the combined effects of greenhouse‐gas (GHG)‐forced climate change and LUCs in regional climate model (RCM) simulations. To do so, we produced RCM simulations that are complementary to the North‐American Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (NA‐CORDEX) simulations, but with future LUCs that are consistent with particular Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and related to a specific Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP). We examine the state of the climate at the end of the 21st century with and without two urban and agricultural LUC scenarios that follow SSP3 and SSP5 using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model forced by one global climate model, the MPI‐ESM, under the RCP8.5 scenario. We find that LUCs following different societal trends under the SSPs can significantly affect climate projections in different ways. In regions of significant cropland expansion over previously forested area, projected annual mean temperature increases are diminished by around 0.5°C–1.0°C. Across all seasons, where urbanization is high, projected temperature increases are magnified. In particular, summer mean temperature projections are up to 4°C–5°C greater and minimum and maximum temperature projections are increased by 2.5°C–6°C, amounts that are on par with the warming due to GHG‐forced climate change. Warming is also enhanced in the urban surroundings. Future urbanization also has a large influence on precipitation projections during summer, increasing storm intensity, event length, and the overall amount over urbanized areas, and decreasing precipitation in surrounding areas.

     
    more » « less
  2. This paper presents a comprehensive river discharge analysis to estimate past and future hydrological extremes across Morocco. Hydrological simulations with historical forcing and climate change scenario inputs have been performed to better understand the change in magnitude and frequency of extreme discharge events that cause flooding. Simulations are applied to all major rivers of Morocco, including a total of 16 basins that cover the majority of the country. An ensemble of temperature and precipitation input parameter sets was generated to analyze input uncertainty, an approach that can be extended to other regions of the world, including data-sparse regions. Parameter uncertainty was also included in the analyses. Historical simulations comprise the period 1979–2021, while future simulations (2015–2100) were performed under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) 2–4.5 and SSP5–8.5. Clear patterns of changing flood extremes are projected; these changes are significant when considered as a proportion of the land area of the country. Two types of basins have been identified, based on their different behavior in climate change scenarios. In the Northern/Mediterranean basins we observe a decrease in the frequency and intensity of events by 2050 under both SSPs, whereas for the remaining catchments higher and more frequent high-flow events in the form of flash floods are detected. Our analysis revealed that this is a consequence of the reduction in rainfall accumulation and intensity in both SSPs for the first type of basins, while the opposite applies to the other type. More generally, we propose a methodology that does not rely on observed time series of discharge, so especially for regions where those do not exist or are not available, and that can be applied to undertake future flood projections in the most data-scarce regions. This method allows future hydrological hazards to be estimated for essentially any region of the world.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    This study presents a novel, high-resolution, dynamically downscaled dataset that will help inform regional and local stakeholders regarding potential impacts of climate change at the scales necessary to examine extreme mesoscale conditions. WRF-ARW version 4.1.2 was used in a convection-permitting configuration (horizontal grid spacing of 3.75 km; 51 vertical levels; data output interval of 15-min) as a regional climate model for a domain covering the contiguous US Initial and lateral boundary forcing for the regional climate model originates from a global climate model simulation by NCAR (Community Earth System Model) that participated in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Inter comparison Project. Herein, we use a version of these data that are regridded and bias corrected. Two 15-year downscaled simulation epochs were examined comprising of historical (HIST; 1990–2005) and potential future (FUTR; 2085–2100) climate using Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5. HIST verification against independent observational data revealed that annual/seasonal/monthly temperature and precipitation (and their extremes) are replicated admirably in the downscaled HIST epoch, with the largest biases in temperature noted with daily maximum temperatures (too cold) and the largest biases in precipitation (too dry) across the southeast US during the boreal warm season. The simulations herein are improved compared to previous work, which is significant considering the differences in previous modeling approaches. Future projections of temperature under the RCP 8.5 scenario are consistent with previous works using various methods. Future precipitation projections suggest statistically significant decreases of precipitation across large segments of the southern Great Plains and Intermountain West, whereas significant increases were noted in the Tennessee/Ohio Valleys and across portions of the Pacific Northwest. Overall, these simulations serve as an additional datapoint/method to detect potential future changes in extreme meso-γ weather phenomena.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Permafrost, a key component of Arctic ecosystems, is currently affected by climate warming and anticipated to undergo further significant changes in this century. The most pronounced changes are expected to occur in the transition zone between the discontinuous and continuous types of permafrost. We apply a transient temperature dynamic model to investigate the spatiotemporal evolution of permafrost conditions on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska—a region currently characterized by continuous permafrost in its northern part and discontinuous permafrost in the south. We calibrate model parameters using a variational data assimilation technique exploiting historical ground temperature measurements collected across the study area. The model is then evaluated with a separate control set of the ground temperature data. Calibrated model parameters are distributed across the domain according to ecosystem types. The forcing applied to our model consists of historic monthly temperature and precipitation data and climate projections based on the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios. Simulated near‐surface permafrost extent for the 2000–2010 decade agrees well with existing permafrost maps and previous Alaska‐wide modeling studies. Future projections suggest a significant increase (3.0°C under RCP 4.5 and 4.4°C under RCP 8.5 at the 2 m depth) in mean decadal ground temperature on average for the peninsula for the 2090–2100 decade when compared to the period of 2000–2010. Widespread degradation of the near‐surface permafrost is projected to reduce its extent at the end of the 21st century to only 43% of the peninsula's area under RCP 4.5 and 8% under RCP 8.5.

     
    more » « less
  5. Purpose Three Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 models involved in the G4 experiment of the Geoengineering Model Inter-comparison Project (GeoMIP) project were used to investigate the impact of stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) on the mean surface air temperature and precipitation extremes in Africa. Design/methodology/approach This impact was examined under G4 and Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 scenarios on the total precipitation, the number of rainy days (RR1) and of days with heavy rainfall (R20 mm), the rainfall intensity (SDII), the maximum length of consecutive wet (CWD) and dry (CDD) days and on the maximum rainfall in five consecutive days (Rx5day) across four regions: Western Africa (WAF), Eastern Africa (EAF), Northern Africa and Southern Africa (SAF). Findings During the 50 years (2020–2069) of SAI, mean continental warming is −0.40°C lower in G4 than under RCP4.5. During the post-injection period (2070–2090), the temperature continues to increase, but at a lower rate (−0.19°C) than in RCP4.5. During SAI, annual rainfall in G4 is significantly greater than in RCP4.5 over the high latitudes (especially over SAF) and lower over the tropics. The termination of SAI leads to a significant increase of rainfall over Sahel and EAF and a decrease over SAF and Guinea Coast (WAF). Practical implications Compared to RCP4.5, SAI will contribute to reducing significantly regional warming but with a significant decrease of rainfall in the tropics where rainfed agriculture account for a large part of the economies. After the SAI period, the risk of drought over the extratropical regions (especially in SAF) will be mitigated, while the risk of floods will be exacerbated in the Central Sahel. Originality/value To meet the Paris Agreement, African countries will implement mitigation measures to contribute to keep the surface air temperature below 2°C. Geoengineering with SAI is suggested as an option to meet this challenge, but its implication on the African climate system needs a deep investigation in the aim to understand the impacts on temperature and precipitation extremes. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the potential impact of SAI using the G4 experiment of GeoMIP on temperature and precipitation extremes of the African continent. 
    more » « less