, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 462-472

A high resolution simulation of climate change over China

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Abstract

Multi-decadal high resolution climate change simulations over East Asia were performed by using The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Regional Climate Model (RegCM3), nested within the NASA/NCAR global model FvGCM/CCM3. Two sets of simulations were conducted at 20-km grid spacings, one for present day (1961–1990) and one for the future climate (2071–2100, IPCC A2 scenario). Simulations of present climate conditions over China by RegCM3 and FvGCM were compared against observations to assess the model performance. Results showed that both models reproduced the observed spatial structure of 500 hPa height, surface air temperature and precipitation. Compared with FvGCM, RegCM3 provided increasing spatial detail of surface variables. Furthermore, RegCM3 improved the simulation of monsoon precipitation over the region. Changes in the mean temperature and precipitation were analyzed and compared between the two models. Significant warming in the end of the 21st century was simulated by both models in December–January–February (DJF), June–July–August (JJA), and the annual mean. In DJF, greater warming was simulated by FvGCM over Northeast and Northwest China, as well as the Tibetan Plateau, compared with RegCM. In JJA, RegCM3 simulated greater warming over northern China, Inner Mongolia, Northwest China, and the Tibetan Plateau. Simulated changes in DJF precipitation showed similar spatial patterns between the two models. In JJA, while FvGCM projected a prevailing increase of monsoon precipitation over China, which is in agreement with other global models, RegCM3 projected extended areas of decreased precipitation. Changes in the variability for annual mean temperature and precipitation also are presented.