Future Climate Change Projections of the Kabul River Basin Using a Multi-model Ensemble of High-Resolution Statistically Downscaled Data
In this study, we examined the future climatic changes in the Kabul River basin located in the Hindu Kush Mountain ranges of Pakistan and Afghanistan. We used the latest data set of statistically downscaled CMIP5 Global Climate Models (GCMs), i.e., NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP). The data set delivers valuable local scale, high-resolution climate change information for past and future periods (1950–2100) on a daily basis, which is very suitable for exploring future changes in mean and extremes of both temperature and precipitation. Multi-model ensemble derived from NEX-GDDP data effectively produces observed spatial patterns and magnitude of both temperature and precipitation that otherwise cannot be captured with coarse resolution GCMs. For the historical period (1975–2005), NEX-GDDP presented an improved seasonal cycle climatology and correlation coefficient with the observed data set. Future projections using multi-model ensembles indicate a consistent rise in mean temperature over the entire Kabul River Basin, relative to the baseline under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 emission scenarios. Although the increase in temperature is not uniform across the domain, upper reaches of the basin show annual and seasonal warming of approximately 6.8 °C by the end of the twenty first century under the RCP8.5 scenario. These changes are significant at a 95% confidence level. The rise in summer and winter temperatures may negatively affect the snow accumulation during winter and has the potential to accelerate glacier melting during summers. Projections of future precipitation under both scenarios show an overall decrease in mean precipitation, particularly under the RCP8.5 scenario.
KeywordsKabul River Basin PDFs CMIP5 Future projections NEX-GDDP
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program supported this research under the project “Understanding our joint water-climate change challenge and exploring policy options for cooperation on the Afghan–Pak transboundary Kabul River Basin”. This project was developed and headed by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan, and implemented by Ms. Hina Lotia, Director Programmes, and Ms. Samar Minallah, Focal Person Water Programme, at LEAD Pakistan. Climate scenarios presented here were analyzed from the NEX-GDDP data set, prepared by the Climate Analytics Group and NASA Ames Research Center using the NASA Earth Exchange, and distributed by the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS). We also acknowledge CSIRO Land and Water, Australia, for providing observed gridded air temperature and precipitation data. We also want to thank Mr. Khalid Mohtadullah who provided valuable insight and expertise that assisted in improving the manuscript. We are also grateful to reviewers for the positive criticism and suggestions that have provided a better insight into the scientific delivery of the topic.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
- Abbaspour K (2015) SWAT-CUP (2015) SWAT calibration and uncertainty programs—a user manual; EAWAG. Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ZurichGoogle Scholar
- Bajracharya SR, Shrestha B (eds) (2011) The status of glaciers in the Hindu Kush–Himalayan region. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
- Chen YJ, Shui K, Shi H, Zheng (2016) Analysis of historical climate datasets for hydrological modelling across south Asia. CSIRO Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio Project. Technical report. CSIRO Land and Water, ActonGoogle Scholar
- Cruz RVH, Change Climate et al (2007) Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 469–506Google Scholar
- FAO (2016) Land cover atlas of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5457e.pdf. Accessed 19 July 2018
- Hassanyar MH, Hassani S, Dozier J (2017) Multi-model ensemble climate change projection for Kabul River Basin, Afghanistan under representative concentration pathways. Glob Res Dev J Eng 02(05):69–78Google Scholar
- Hutchinson MF, Xu T (2013) Anusplin version 4.4 user guide: fenner school of environment and society canberra, Australia. http://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/files/anusplin44.pdf. Accessed 19 July 2018
- Jarvis AHI, Reuter A, Nelson E, Guevara (2008) Hole-filled SRTM for the globe version 4, available from the CGIAR-CSI SRTM 90 m Database. http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org. Accessed 01 Jan 2018
- Jianchu X, Arun S, Rameshananda V, Mats E, Kenneth H (2007) The melting Himalayas. In: Regional challenges and local impacts of climate change on mountain ecosystems and livelihoods, ICIMOD Technical Paper, Kathmandu, p 2Google Scholar
- King M, Sturtewagen B (2010) Making the most of Afghanistan’s river basins: Opportunities for regional cooperation. EastWest Institute, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Mehmood S, Muhammad AA, Faisal SS, Muhammad MS, Arshad MK (2009) Climate change projections over South Asia under SRES A2 scenario using regional climate model RegCM3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284367455_Climate_Change_Projections_over_South_Asia_under_SRES_A2_Scenario_using_Regional_Climate_Model_RegCM3. Accessed 19 July 2018
- Singh SP, Bassignana-Khadka I, Singh KB, Sharma E (2011) Climate change in the Hindu Kush–Himalayas: the state of current knowledge. International centre for integrated mountain development (ICIMOD). http://lib.icimod.org/record/9417/files/icimod-climate_change_in_the_hindu_kush-himalayas.pdf. Accessed 19 July 2018
- Syed FS, Shahbaz MM, Adnan A, M MS, Arshad MK (2009) Validation of the regional climate model RegCM3 over South Asia. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284367453_Validation_of_the_Regional_Climate_Model_RegCM3_over_South_Asia/citations. Accessed 19 July 2018
- UNFPA. A socio-economic and demographic profile - Afghan agriculture. UNFPA, Kabul, pp 2–3 (n.d.). https://afghanag.ucdavis.edu/country-info/files/all-Afghanistan.pdf. Accessed 19 July 2018
- Wilby RL, Charles SP, Zorita E, Timbal B, Whetton P, Mearns LO (2004) Guidelines for use of climate scenarios developed from statistical downscaling methods. In: Supporting material of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, available from the DDC of IPCC TGCIA, p 27. http://www.ipcc-data.org/guidelines/dgm_no2_v1_09_2004.pdf. Accessed 19 July 2018