Climate change projections for Tamil Nadu, India: deriving high-resolution climate data by a downscaling approach using PRECIS

Abstract

In this paper, we present regional climate change projections for the Tamil Nadu state of India, simulated by the Met Office Hadley Centre regional climate model. The model is run at 25 km horizontal resolution driven by lateral boundary conditions generated by a perturbed physical ensemble of 17 simulations produced by a version of Hadley Centre coupled climate model, known as HadCM3Q under A1B scenario. The large scale features of these 17 simulations were evaluated for the target region to choose lateral boundary conditions from six members that represent a range of climate variations over the study region. The regional climate, known as PRECIS, was then run 130 years from 1970. The analyses primarily focus on maximum and minimum temperatures and rainfall over the region. For the Tamil Nadu as a whole, the projections of maximum temperature show an increase of 1.0, 2.2 and 3.1 °C for the periods 2020s (2005–2035), 2050s (2035–2065) and 2080s (2065–2095), respectively, with respect to baseline period (1970–2000). Similarly, the projections of minimum temperature show an increase of 1.1, 2.4 and 3.5 °C, respectively. This increasing trend is statistically significant (Mann-Kendall trend test). The annual rainfall projections for the same periods indicate a general decrease in rainfall of about 2–7, 1–4 and 4–9 %, respectively. However, significant exceptions are noticed over some pockets of western hilly areas and high rainfall areas where increases in rainfall are seen. There are also indications of increasing heavy rainfall events during the northeast monsoon season and a slight decrease during the southwest monsoon season. Such an approach of using climate models may maximize the utility of high-resolution climate change information for impact-adaptation-vulnerability assessments.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, UK Meteorological Office, for making available the PRECIS and the LBC data for the simulations used in this study, and Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation Research would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu for the vision and foresight which inspired the centre to initiate the climate change research.

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Correspondence to Prasanta Kumar Bal.

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Bal, P.K., Ramachandran, A., Geetha, R. et al. Climate change projections for Tamil Nadu, India: deriving high-resolution climate data by a downscaling approach using PRECIS. Theor Appl Climatol 123, 523–535 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-014-1367-9

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Keywords

  • Ensemble Member
  • India Meteorological Department
  • Precis Simulation
  • Small Root Mean Square Error
  • Tamil Nadu State