Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 477–497 | Cite as

Future Climate Change Projections of the Kabul River Basin Using a Multi-model Ensemble of High-Resolution Statistically Downscaled Data

  • Syed Ahsan Ali BokhariEmail author
  • Burhan Ahmad
  • Jahangir Ali
  • Shakeel Ahmad
  • Haris Mushtaq
  • Ghulam Rasul
Original Article


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.


Kabul 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.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pakistan Meteorological DepartmentIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.LEAD PakistanIslamabadPakistan

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