Climatic Change

, Volume 99, Issue 1–2, pp 321–329 | Cite as

Emission scenario dependencies in climate change assessments of the hydrological cycle

A letter
  • Hideo ShiogamaEmail author
  • Naota Hanasaki
  • Yuji Masutomi
  • Tatsuya Nagashima
  • Tomoo Ogura
  • Kiyoshi Takahashi
  • Yasuaki Hijioka
  • Toshihiko Takemura
  • Toru Nozawa
  • Seita Emori


Anthropogenic global warming will lead to changes in the global hydrological cycle. The uncertainty in precipitation sensitivity per 1 K of global warming across coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) has been actively examined. On the other hand, the uncertainty in precipitation sensitivity in different emission scenarios of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and aerosols has received little attention. Here we show a robust emission-scenario dependency (ESD); smaller global precipitation sensitivities occur in higher GHG and aerosol emission scenarios. Although previous studies have applied this ESD to the multi-AOGCM mean, our surprising finding is that current AOGCMs all have the common ESD in the same direction. Different aerosol emissions lead to this ESD. The implications of the ESD of precipitation sensitivity extend far beyond climate analyses. As we show, the ESD potentially propagates into considerable biases in impact assessments of the hydrological cycle via a widely used technique, so-called pattern scaling. Since pattern scaling is essential to conducting parallel analyses across climate, impact, adaptation and mitigation scenarios in the next report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, more attention should be paid to the ESD of precipitation sensitivity.


Emission Scenario Hydrological Cycle Annual Runoff Carbonaceous Aerosol Aerosol Emission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Supplementary material

10584_2009_9765_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (506 kb)
Emission scenario dependencies in climate change assessments of the hydrological cycle (PDF 506 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hideo Shiogama
    • 1
    Email author
  • Naota Hanasaki
    • 1
  • Yuji Masutomi
    • 2
  • Tatsuya Nagashima
    • 1
  • Tomoo Ogura
    • 1
  • Kiyoshi Takahashi
    • 1
  • Yasuaki Hijioka
    • 1
  • Toshihiko Takemura
    • 3
  • Toru Nozawa
    • 1
  • Seita Emori
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Center for Environmental Science in SaitamaSaitamaJapan
  3. 3.Research Institute for Applied MechanicsKyushu UniversityKasugaJapan
  4. 4.Center for Climate System ResearchUniversity of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  5. 5.Yokohama Institute for Earth SciencesJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohama CityJapan

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