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South America climate change revealed through climate indices projected by GCMs and Eta-RCM ensembles

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Abstract

Studies that evaluate climate change projections over the whole of South America (SA) and including different seasons and models are scarce. In this context, the objective of this work is to assess climate projections for SA through the use of climatic indices, considering the entire continent, distinct seasons, and ensembles of models. Projections performed with the Eta regional climate model and its driving global climate models (GCMs) are analysed. From these projections, 19 climate indices based on daily precipitation and maximum and minimum temperature are computed. The results focus on two ensembles (GCMs and Eta), time slices (1980–2005 and 2050–2080), and scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). In the validation of the present climate, it is shown that Eta adds value to GCMs. Future projections indicate, for both austral summer (DJF) and winter (JJA), an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events of daily rainfall over southeastern and extreme north of SA. Over the Amazon, during DJF, there is a statistically significant increase in the number of consecutive dry days and a decrease in the consecutive wet days. For northeastern Brazil, these features are more intense in JJA. The frequency of cold (warm) nights and days is projected to decrease (increase) over the whole continent and seasons. The climate change signal for the 19 climate indices is more intense under RCP8.5, and the regions more vulnerable to climate change are the Amazon, northeastern Brazil, and southeastern SA. Considering Brazil, the projections of precipitation and air temperature are also shown by biomes.

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Fig. 1

Adapted from Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) of NASA—Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) (https://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/set/nagdc-population-landscape-climate-estimates-v3/maps?facets=region:south%20america)

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Acknowledgements

This paper was supported by the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (Ministério de Minas e Energia), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES, Brazil) Finance Code 001, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brazil), and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG). The authors also thank Dr Chou Sin Chan for the Eta projections and the centres that become available the data used in this study.

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Correspondence to Michelle Simões Reboita.

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Reboita, M.S., Kuki, C.A.C., Marrafon, V.H. et al. South America climate change revealed through climate indices projected by GCMs and Eta-RCM ensembles. Clim Dyn 58, 459–485 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-021-05918-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-021-05918-2

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