Changes of rainfall extremes around the haor basin areas of Bangladesh using multi-member ensemble RCM

Abstract

Haors are large, round-shaped floodplain depressions located in the North-Eastern region of Bangladesh. Extreme events such as heavy rainfall routinely affect the haor basin with flash floods. These haors are predicted to experience severe stress because of changes in rainfall and temperature patterns. The biotic community of the wetlands may not have enough time to adjust itself in such varying temperature and rainfall extremes. This paper evaluates various aspects of the future projections of rainfall and temperature extremes, including magnitudes and frequencies thereof. The impacts of extreme events are examined using Hadley Centre’s high-resolution regional climate model known as PRECIS (Providing REgional Climates for Impact Studies). Daily temperature and rainfall simulations of the 17-member ensembles are generated through Hadley Centre Coupled Model (HadCM3). These simulations are used in Rclimdex—a software specially designed for this study. A total of 12 core climate indices are computed, analyzed, and statistically examined (Mann–Whitney U test) over the space of three time slices—(1) short (2020s, i.e., 2011–2040), (2) medium (2050s, i.e., 2041–2070), and (3) long (2080s, i.e., 2071–2098). Here, the 1980s (1971–2000) are considered as the baseline period. The study has found that the highest significant variability in both rainfalls and temperatures was during the pre-monsoon season when flash floods normally occur. Also, rainy days are projected to be less frequent albeit more intense where the deeply flooded haors are located. Though the annual total rainfall does not show any difference in spatial distribution (except for in magnitude), the seasonal patterns of most extreme events show that the probable affected areas have shifted from North-east to further North. In addition, a significant increase in both RX1 (1-day maximum rainfall) and RX5 (5-day maximum rainfall) are projected during the 2080’s pre-monsoon season near Sunamganj. This projection also indicates the possible frequent occurrence of flash floods with high volumes. Probability distribution frequencies (PDF) show a rightward shift in time indicating an increase in the amount of total rainfall in the future. Exceptions are, however, found in case of PDFs for consecutive dry days (CDD) and consecutive wet days (CWD). The decrease in CWD is found to be more pronounced than that of CDD. All these projections made in this study are expected to contribute further in the advancements of the Master Planning of the haor area that was done by the government of Bangladesh in 2012.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    “Hotspots” refer to those regions already vulnerable to climate variability and likely to suffer substantial impacts in future from climate change, with poverty and vulnerability characteristics also being present.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Met Office, Hadley Centre, UK, for providing input data and their support in using PRECIS. This work is fully funded by DFID under the research project “High-resolution Regional Climate Change Information for Bangladesh to inform Impact Assessments, Vulnerability indicators and Adaptation Policies” by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in collaboration with Met Office Hadley Centre, UK.

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Correspondence to A. K. M. Saiful Islam.

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Nowreen, S., Murshed, S.B., Islam, A.K.M.S. et al. Changes of rainfall extremes around the haor basin areas of Bangladesh using multi-member ensemble RCM. Theor Appl Climatol 119, 363–377 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-014-1101-7

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Keywords

  • Regional Climate Model
  • Rainfall Extreme
  • Flash Flood
  • Upstream Catchment
  • Regional Climate Model Data