Climate Dynamics

, Volume 45, Issue 1–2, pp 21–45 | Cite as

Precipitation in the Karakoram-Himalaya: a CMIP5 view

  • Elisa Palazzi
  • Jost von Hardenberg
  • Silvia Terzago
  • Antonello Provenzale
Article

Abstract

This work analyzes the properties of precipitation in the Hindu-Kush Karakoram Himalaya region as simulated by thirty-two state-of-the-art global climate models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). We separately consider the Hindu-Kush Karakoram (HKK) in the west and the Himalaya in the east. These two regions are characterized by different precipitation climatologies, which are associated with different circulation patterns. Historical model simulations are compared with the Climate Research Unit (CRU) and Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) precipitation data in the period 1901–2005. Future precipitation is analyzed for the two representative concentration pathways (RCP) RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios. We find that the multi-model ensemble mean and most individual models exhibit a wet bias with respect to CRU and GPCC observations in both regions and for all seasons. The models differ greatly in the seasonal climatology of precipitation which they reproduce in the HKK. The CMIP5 models predict wetter future conditions in the Himalaya in summer, with a gradual precipitation increase throughout the 21st century. Wetter summer future conditions are also predicted by most models in the RCP 8.5 scenario for the HKK, while on average no significant change can be detected in winter precipitation for both regions. In general, no single model (or group of models) emerges as that providing the best results for all the statistics considered, and the large spread in the behavior of individual models suggests to consider multi-model ensemble means with extreme care.

Keywords

CMIP5 models Precipitation change Himalaya-Karakoram Model uncertainty 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisa Palazzi
    • 1
  • Jost von Hardenberg
    • 1
  • Silvia Terzago
    • 1
  • Antonello Provenzale
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC-CNR)TurinItaly

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