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Downscaling future climate change projections over Puerto Rico using a non-hydrostatic atmospheric model

Abstract

We present results from 20-year “high-resolution” regional climate model simulations of precipitation change for the sub-tropical island of Puerto Rico. The Japanese Meteorological Agency Non-Hydrostatic Model (NHM) operating at a 2-km grid resolution is nested inside the Regional Spectral Model (RSM) at 10-km grid resolution, which in turn is forced at the lateral boundaries by the Community Climate System Model (CCSM4). At this resolution, the climate change experiment allows for deep convection in model integrations, which is an important consideration for sub-tropical regions in general, and on islands with steep precipitation gradients in particular that strongly influence local ecological processes and the provision of ecosystem services. Projected precipitation change for this region of the Caribbean is simulated for the mid-twenty-first century (2041–2060) under the RCP8.5 climate-forcing scenario relative to the late twentieth century (1986–2005). The results show that by the mid-twenty-first century, there is an overall rainfall reduction over the island for all seasons compared to the recent climate but with diminished mid-summer drought (MSD) in the northwestern parts of the island. Importantly, extreme rainfall events on sub-daily and daily time scales also become slightly less frequent in the projected mid-twenty-first-century climate over most regions of the island.

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Notes

  1. They are termed convective permitting because at resolutions of order of 1-km grid spacing they are still unable to resolve convective plumes.

  2. Is defined by (twenty-first-century mean – twentieth-century mean) × 100 / (twentieth century-mean).

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Tracy Ippolito for reviewing our manuscript for editorial corrections.

Funding

This work was supported by grants from NOAA (NA12OAR4310078, NA10OAR4320143, NA11OAR4310110) and USGS G13AC00408. The supercomputing facility provided by XSEDE under grant number ATM10010 was used to complete the model integrations used in this study.

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Correspondence to Amit Bhardwaj.

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Bhardwaj, A., Misra, V., Mishra, A. et al. Downscaling future climate change projections over Puerto Rico using a non-hydrostatic atmospheric model. Climatic Change 147, 133–147 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2130-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2130-x