Climate Dynamics

, Volume 51, Issue 9–10, pp 3179–3193 | Cite as

Time of emergence in regional precipitation changes: an updated assessment using the CMIP5 multi-model ensemble

  • Thuy-Huong Nguyen
  • Seung-Ki MinEmail author
  • Seungmok Paik
  • Donghyun Lee


This study conducted an updated time of emergence (ToE) analysis of regional precipitation changes over land regions across the globe using multiple climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). ToEs were estimated for 14 selected hotspots over two seasons of April to September (AS) and October to March (OM) from three RCP scenarios representing low (RCP2.6), medium (RCP4.5), and high (RCP8.5) emissions. Results from the RCP8.5 scenario indicate that ToEs would occur before 2040 over seven hotspots including three northern high-latitude regions (OM wettening), East Africa (OM wettening), South Asia (AS wettening), East Asia (AS wettening) and South Africa (AS drying). The Mediterranean (both OM and AS drying) is expected to experience ToEs in the mid-twenty-first century (2040-2080). In order to measure possible benefits from taking low-emission scenarios, ToE differences were examined between the RCP2.6 scenario and the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios. Significant ToE delays from 26 years to longer than 67 years were identified over East Africa (OM wettening), the Mediterranean (both AS and OM drying), South Asia (AS wettening), and South Africa (AS drying). Further, we investigated ToE differences between CMIP3-based and CMIP5-based models using the same number of models for the comparable scenario pairs (SRESA2 vs. RCP8.5, and SRESB1 vs. RCP4.5). Results were largely consistent between two model groups, indicating the robustness of ToE results. Considerable differences in ToEs (larger than 20 years) between two model groups appeared over East Asia and South Asia (AS wettening) and South Africa (AS drying), which were found due to stronger signals in CMIP5 models. Our results provide useful information on the timing of emerging signals in regional and seasonal hydrological changes, having important implications for associated adaptation and mitigation plans.


Time of emergence Precipitation CMIP5 RCP scenarios Signal-to-noise ratio 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (no. 2017R1A2B2008951). We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Tables 1 and 2 of this paper) for producing and making available their model output.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Environmental Science and EngineeringPohang University of Science and TechnologyPohangKorea
  2. 2.REMOSAT LaboratoryUniversity of Science and Technology of HanoiHanoiVietnam

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