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).


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© 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

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