Probabilistic projections of regional climatic changes over the Great Lakes Basin
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As the largest surface fresh water system on earth, the Great Lakes is facing the threat of climate change. Understanding how the hydrologic cycle in the Great Lakes region would be affected by human-induced global warming is important for developing informed adaptation strategies. In this study, high-resolution regional climate ensemble simulations based upon the PRECIS modeling system are conducted to project future climatic changes over the Great Lakes Basin. The results show that the Great Lakes Basin is very likely to experience a continuous warming-up throughout the 21st century. Particularly, mean air temperatures will rise by 2.6 °C in the forthcoming decades (i.e., 2030s), 3.8 °C in the middle of the century (i.e., 2050s), and 5.6 °C to the end of the century (i.e., 2080s), respectively. The warming air temperatures are very likely to result in more precipitation over the entire basin. The annual total precipitation over the Great Lakes Basin is projected to increase by 8.9% in the 2030s and 12.2% in the 2050s, while the magnitude of precipitation increase would decline to 7.1% in the 2080s. The slow-down of the precipitation increase from the 2050s to the 2080s indicates a shift from the aggressive increase of precipitation before and in the middle of this century to the eventual decrease by the end of this century, suggesting that a nonlinear response relationship between precipitation and temperature may exist in the Great Lakes Basin and such a relationship is also likely to vary in response to global warming.
KeywordsGlobal warming Regional climate change Ensemble simulation Precipitation increase The Great Lakes Basin
This research was supported by the Natural Sciences Foundation (51190095, 51225904), the Program for Innovative Research Team in University (IRT1127), the 111 Project (B14008), the National Basic Research Program (2013CB430401), and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
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