Future climate change enhances rainfall seasonality in a regional model of western Maritime Continent

  • Suchul Kang
  • Eun-Soon Im
  • Elfatih A. B. Eltahir


In this study, future changes in rainfall due to global climate change are investigated over the western Maritime Continent based on dynamically downscaled climate projections using the MIT Regional Climate Model (MRCM) with 12 km horizontal resolution. A total of nine 30-year regional climate projections driven by multi-GCMs projections (CCSM4, MPI-ESM-MR and ACCESS1.0) under multi-scenarios of greenhouse gases emissions (Historical: 1976–2005, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5: 2071–2100) from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP5) are analyzed. Focusing on dynamically downscaled rainfall fields, the associated systematic biases originating from GCM and MRCM are removed based on observations using Parametric Quantile Mapping method in order to enhance the reliability of future projections. The MRCM simulations with bias correction capture the spatial patterns of seasonal rainfall as well as the frequency distribution of daily rainfall. Based on projected rainfall changes under both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, the ensemble of MRCM simulations project a significant decrease in rainfall over the western Maritime Continent during the inter-monsoon periods while the change in rainfall is not relevant during wet season. The main mechanism behind the simulated decrease in rainfall is rooted in asymmetries of the projected changes in seasonal dynamics of the meridional circulation along different latitudes. The sinking motion, which is marginally positioned in the reference simulation, is enhanced and expanded under global climate change, particularly in RCP8.5 scenario during boreal fall season. The projected enhancement of rainfall seasonality over the western Maritime Continent suggests increased risk of water stress for natural ecosystems as well as man-made water resources reservoirs.



This research is supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise programme. The Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling is an interdisciplinary research group of the Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology. The corresponding author, E.-S. Im, was supported by the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA) Grant funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Grant 18AWMP-B083066-05).


  1. Aldrian E, Susanto RD (2003) Identification of three dominant rainfall regions within Indonesia and their relationship to sea surface temperature. Int J Climatol 23:1435–1452. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arakawa O, Kitoh A (2005) Rainfall diurnal variation over the Indonesian Maritime Continent simulated by 20 km mesh GCM. SOLA 1:109–112. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashok K, Guan Z, Yamagata T (2001) Impact of the Indian Ocean Dipole on the relationship between Indian Ocean monsoon rainfall and ENSO. Geophys Res Lett 28:4499–4502. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bi D, Dix M, Marsl SJ, O’Farrell S, Rashid H, Uotila P, Hirst AC, Kowalczyk E, Golebiewski M, Sullivan A, Yan H, Hannah N, Franklin C, Sun Z, Vohralik P, Watterson I, Zhou X, Fiedler R, Collier M, Ma Y, Noonan J, Stevens L, Uhe P, Zhu H, Griffies SM, Hill R, Harris C, Puri K (2013) The ACCESS coupled model: description, control climate and evaluation. Aust Met Oceanog J 63:9–32Google Scholar
  5. Bony S, Bellon G, Klocke D, Sherwood S, Fermepin S, Denvil S (2013) Robust direct effect of carbon dioxide on tropical circulation and regional precipitation. Nat Geosci 6:447–451. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang C-P, Wang Z, Ju J, Li T (2004) On the relationship between Western Maritime continent monsoon rainfall and ENSO during Northern Winter. J Clim 17:665–672.<0665:OTRBWM>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chang C-P, Wang Z, McBride J, Liu CH (2005) Annual cycle of Southeast Asia-Maritime Continent rainfall and the asymmetric monsoon transition. J Clim 18:287–301. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen T-C, Tsay J-D, Yen M-C, Matsumoto J (2013a) The winter rainfall of Malaysia. J Clim 26:936–958. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen T-C, Tsay J-D, Yen M-C, Matsumoto J (2013b) Interannual variation of the winter rainfall in Malaysia. J Clim 26:4630–4648. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chotamonsak C, Salathé EP Jr, Kreasuwan J, Chantara S, Siriwitayakorn K (2011) Projected climate change over Southeast Asia simulated using a WRF regional climate model. Atmos Sci Let 12:213–219. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christensen JH et al (2013) Climate phenomena and their relevance for future regional climate change. In: Stocker TF et al (eds) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1217–1308Google Scholar
  12. Cruz FT, Narisma GT, Dado JM, Singhruck P, Tangang FT, Linarka UA, Wati T, Juneng L, Phan-Van T, Ngo-Duc T, Santisirisomboon J, Gunawan D, Aldrian E (2017) Sensitivity of temperature to physical parameterization schemes of RegCM4 over the CORDEX-Southeast Asia Region. Int J Climatol 37:5139–5153. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dee DP, Uppala SM, Simmons AJ, Berrisford P, Poli P, Kobayashi S, Andrae U, Balmaseda MA, Balsamo G, Bauer P, Bechtold P, Beljaars ACM, van de Berg L, Bidlot J, Bormann N, Delsol C, Dragani R, Fuentes M, Geer AJ, Haimberger L, Healy SB, Hersbach H, Hólm EV, Isaksen L, Kållberg P, Köhler M, Matricardi M, McNally AP, Monge-Sanz BM, Morcrette JJ, Park BK, Peubey C, de Rosnay P, Tavolato C, Thépaut JN, Vitart F (2011) The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Q J R Meteorol Soc 137(656):553–597. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ehret U, Zehe E, Wulfmeyer V, Warrach-Sagi K, Liebert J (2012) Should we apply bias correction to global and regional climate model data? Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss 9:5355–5387. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gent PR et al (2011) The community climate system model version 4. J Clim 24(19):4973–4991. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gianotti RL (2012) Convective cloud and rainfall processes over the Maritime Continent: simulation and analysis of the diurnal cycle. Ph.D. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, p 306Google Scholar
  17. Gianotti RL, Eltahir EAB (2014a) Regional climate modeling over the Maritime Continent. Part I: new parameterization for convective cloud fraction. J Clim 27:1488–1503. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gianotti RL, Eltahir EAB (2014b) Regional climate modeling over the Maritime Continent. Part II: new parameterization for autoconversion of convective rainfall. J Clim 27:1504–1523. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Giorgetta MA, Jungclaus J, Reick C, Legutke S, Bader J, Bttinger M, Brovkin V, Crueger T, Esch M, Fieg K, Glushak K, Gayler V, Haak H, Hollweg HD, Ilyina T, Kinne S, Kornblueh L, Matei D, Mauritsen T, Mikolajewicz U, Mueller W, Notz D, Pithan F, Raddatz T, Rast S, Redler R, Roeckner E, Schmidt H, Schnur R, Segschneider J, Six KD, Stockhause M, Timmreck C, Wegner J, Widmann H, Wieners KH, Claussen M, Marotzke J, Stevens B (2013) Climate and carbon cycle changes from 1850 to 2100 in MPI-ESM simulations for the coupled model intercomparison project phase 5. J Adv Model Earth Syst 5:572–597. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Giorgi F, Coppola E, Solmon F, Mariotti L, Sylla MB, Bi X, Elguindi N, Diro GT, Nair V, Giuliani G, Cozzini S, Güttler I, O’Brien TA, Tawfik AB, Shalaby A, Zakey AS, Steiner AL, Stordal F, Sloan LC, Brankovic C (2012) RegCM4: model description and preliminary tests over multiple CORDEX domains. Clim Res 52:7–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harris I, Jones P, Osborn T, Lister D (2014) Updated high-resolution grids of monthly climatic observations—the CRU TS3.10 dataset. Int J Climatol 34:623–642. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huffman GJ, Bolvin DT (2012) TRMM and other data precipitation data set documentation. Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Science Systems and ApplicationsGoogle Scholar
  23. Im E-S, Eltahir EAB (2017) Simulation of the diurnal variation of rainfall over the western Maritime Continent using a regional climate model. Clim Dyn. Google Scholar
  24. Im E-S, Gianotti RL, Eltahir EAB (2014) Improving the simulation of the West African Monsoon using the MIT regional Climate Model. J Clim 27:2209–2229. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jamaluddin AF, Tangang F, Chung JX, Juneng L, Sasaki H, Takayabu I (2017) Investigating the mechanisms of diurnal rainfall variability over Peninsular Malaysia using the non-hydrostatic regional climate model. Meteorol Atmos Phys. Google Scholar
  26. Juneng L, Tangang FT (2005) Evolution of ENSO-related rainfall anomalies in Southeast Asia region and its relationship with atmosphere-ocean variations in Indo-Pacific sector. Clim Dyn 25:337–350. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Juneng L, Tangang FT (2010) Long-term trends of winter monsoon synoptic circulations over the maritime continent: 1962–2007. Atmos Sci Lett 11:199–203. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Juneng L, Tangang F, Chung J et al (2016) Sensitivity of Southeast Asia rainfall simulations to cumulus and air-sea flux parameterizations in RegCM4. Clim Res 69:59–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lau WKM, Kim KM (2015) Robust Hadley circulation changes and increasing global dryness due to CO2 warming from CMIP5 model projections. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112:3630–3635. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Liang XZ, Li L, Dai A, Kunkel KE (2004) Regional climate model simulation of summer precipitation diurnal cycle over the United States. Geophys Res Lett 31:L24208. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Liang XZ, Kunkel KE, Meehl GA, Jones RG, Wang JXL (2008) Regional climate models downscaling analysis of general circulation models present climate biases propagation into future change projections. Geophys Res Lett 35:L08709. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Loh JL, Tangang F, Juneng L, Hein D, Lee D-I (2016) Projected rainfall and temperature changes over Malaysia at the end of the 21st century based on PRECIS modelling system. Asia Pac J Atmos Sci 52:191–208. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Love BS, Matthews AJ, Lister GMS (2011) The diurnal cycle of precipitation over the Maritime Continent in a high-resolution atmospheric model. Q J R Meteorol Soc 137:934–947. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lucas-Picher P, Somot S, Déqué M, Decharme B, Alias A (2013) Evaluation of the regional climate model ALADIN to simulate the climate over North America in the CORDEX framework. Clim Dyn 41:1117–1137. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Marcella M, Eltahir EAB (2012) Modeling the summertime climate of Southwest Asia: the role of land surface processes in shaping the climate of semiarid regions. J Clim 25:704–719. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Marcella M, Eltahir EAB (2014) Introducing an irrigation scheme to a regional climate model: a case study over West Africa. J Clim 27:5708–5723. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mariotti L, Diallo I, Coppola E, Giorgi F (2014) Seasonal and intraseasonal changes of African monsoon climates in 21st century CORDEX projections. Clim Change 125:53–65. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McSweeney CF, Jones RG, Lee RW, Rowell DP (2015a) Selecting CMIP5 GCMs for downscaling over multiple regions. Clim Dyn 44:3237–3260. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McSweeney CF et al (2015b) Singapore’s second national climate change study—climate projections to 2100 science report. Centre for Climate Research Singapore, Chap. 4Google Scholar
  40. Moron V, Robertson AW, Boer R (2009) Spatial coherence and seasonal predictability of monsoon onset over Indonesia. J Clim 22:840–850. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moss RH, Edmonds JA, Hibbard KA, Manning MR, Rose SK, van Vuuren DP, Carter TR, Emori S, Kainuma M, Kram T, Meehl GA, Mitchell JFB, Nakicenovic N, Riahi K, Smith SJ, Stouffer RJ, Thomson AM, Weyant JP, Wilbanks TJ (2010) The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment. Nature 463(7282):747–756. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Neale RB, Slingo JM (2003) The Maritime Continent and its role in the global climate: a GCM study. J Clim 16:834–848.<0834:TMCAIR>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pal JS, Giorgi F, Bi X, Elguindi N, Solmon F, Gao X, Rauscher S, Francisco R, Zakey A, Winter J, Ashfaq M, Syed FS, Bell JL, Diffenbaugh NS, Karmacharya J, Konaré A, Martinez D, da Rocha RP, Sloan LC, Steiner AL (2007) The ICTP RegCM3 and RegCNET: regional climate modeling for the developing world. BAMS 88:1395–1409. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Park C, Min S-K, Lee D et al (2016) Evaluation of multiple Regional Climate Models for summer climate extremes over East Asia. Clim Dyn 46:2469–2486. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Peatman SC, Matthews AJ, Stevens DP (2015) Propagation of the Madden–Julian oscillation and scale interaction with the diurnal cycle in a high-resolution GCM. Clim Dyn 45:2901–2918. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Piani C, Haerter JO, Coppola E (2010) Statistical bias correction for daily precipitation in regional climate models over Europe. Theor Appl Climatol 99:187–192. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ploshay J, Lau N-C (2010) Simulation of the diurnal cycle in tropical rainfall and circulation during boreal summer with a high-resolution GCM. Mon Weather Rew 138:3434–3452. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Qian JH (2008) Why precipitation is mostly concentrated over islands in the maritime continent. J Atmos Sci 65:1428–1441. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Robertson AW, Moron V, Qian J-H, Chang C-P, Tangang F, Aldrian E, Koh TY, Juneng L (2011) The maritime continent monsoon. In: Chang CP et al (eds) The global monsoon system: research and forecast, 2nd edn. World Scientific Publishing Co., New Jersey, pp 85–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Salimun E, Tangang F, Juneng L, Behera SK, Yu W (2014) Differential impacts of conventional El Niño versus El Niño Modoki on Malaysian rainfall anomaly during winter monsoon. Int J Climatol 34:2763–2774. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Salimun E, Tangang F, Juneng L, Zwiersb FW, Merryfield WJ (2015) Skill evaluation of the CanCM4 and its MOS for seasonal rainfall forecast in Malaysia during the early and late winter monsoon periods. Int J Climatol 36:439–454. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schiemann R, Demory ME, Mizielinski MS, Roberts MJ, Shaffrey LC, Strachan J, Vidale PL (2014) The sensitivity of the tropical circulation and Maritime Continent precipitation to climate model resolution. Clim Dyn 42:2455–2468. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Smith A, Lott N, Vose R (2011) The integrated surface database: recent developments and partnerships. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 92:704–708. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Solman SA, Nu´n˜ ez MN, Cabre´ MF (2008) Regional climate change experiments over southern South America. I: present climate. Clim Dyn 30:533–552. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tangang FT, Juneng L, Salimun E et al (2008) On the roles of the northeast cold surge, the Borneo Vortex, the Madden-Julian Oscillation, and the Indian Ocean Dipole during the extreme 2006/2007 flood in southern Peninsular Malaysia. Geophys Res Lett 35:L14S07. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tangang FT, Juneng L, Salimun S, Kwan MS, Loh JL, Muhamad H (2012) Climate change and variability over Malaysia: gaps in science and research information. Sains Malays 41:1355–1366Google Scholar
  57. Tangang FT, Farzanmanesh R, Mirzaei A, Supari, Salimun E, Jamaluddin AF, Juneng L (2017) Characteristics of precipitation extremes in Malaysia associated with El Niño and La Niña events. Int J Climatol 37:696–716. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Taylor KE, Stouffer RJ, Meehl GA (2012) An overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 93:485–498. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Teo C-K, Koh T-Y, Lo JC-F, Bhatt BH (2011) Principal component analysis of observed and modeled diurnal rainfall in the Maritime Continent. J Clim 24:4662–4675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vautard R, Gobiet A, Jacob D, Belda M, Colette A, Déqué M, Fernández J, García-Díez M, Goergen K, Güttler I et al (2013) The simulation of European heat waves from an ensemble of regional climate models within the EURO-CORDEX project. Clim Dyn 41:1–21. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vecchi GA, Soden BJ (2007) Global warming and the weakening of the tropical circulation. J Clim 20:4316–4340. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang B, Wu R, Li T (2003) Atmosphere-warm ocean interaction and its impacts on Asian–Australian monsoon variation. J Clim 16:1195–1211.<1195:AOIAII>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Winter JM, Pal JS, Eltahir EAB (2009) Coupling of integrated biosphere simulator to regional climate model version 3. J Clim 22:2743–2756. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zhou L, Wang Y (2006) Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission observation and regional model study of precipitation diurnal cycle in the New Guinean region. J Geophys Res 111:D17104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling (CENSAM)SingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Division of Environment and Sustainability, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Academic Building 3594The Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyKowloonChina
  3. 3.Ralph M. Parsons LaboratoryMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations