Projected spatial patterns in precipitation and air temperature for China's northwest region derived from high‐resolution regional climate models

Yin, Zhenliang and Feng, Qi and Yang, Linshan and Deo, Ravinesh C. ORCID: and Adamowski, Jan F. and Wen, Xiaohu and Jia, Bing and Si, Jianhua (2020) Projected spatial patterns in precipitation and air temperature for China's northwest region derived from high‐resolution regional climate models. International Journal of Climatology, 40 (8). pp. 3922-3941. ISSN 0899-8418


Derived from realistic global warming scenarios, long‐term projections of spatial patterns in precipitation and temperature in hydrology and climatology can serve to evaluate climate risk, explore sources of renewable energies and allow local‐scale data to inform decisions regarding agricultural, ecosystem, social, recreational and economic activities. Under the CORDEX‐EA project, the precipitation and temperature projections (2020–2045) for the economically and socially important region of Northwestern China were derived from high‐resolution regional climate model (RCM) simulations for RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios, and compared against a historical period or baseline of 1980–2005. Drawing data from four key RCMs [Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF); Regional Spectral Model (RSM); Regional Climate Model version 4.0 (RegCM4); Mesoscale Model version 5 (MM5)], reliable local‐scale projections were generated by applying suitable bias correction that accords with the multivariate bias correction (MBC) approach. To validate this approach and then evaluate climate change impacts, the adjusted precipitation and temperature estimated from bias‐corrected models for the historical period were compared to the observed data. The results showed that the simulated spatiotemporal distribution of multiyear average precipitation and temperature appear to fit relatively well with the observations, however, the wet‐cold and dry‐warm climate‐related biases were still evident for the high altitude regions. Bias‐corrected future projections of RCMs indicated spatially averaged annual precipitation is expected to rise by about 23.6 and 35.3 mm under the RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios, respectively, while spatially averaged annual temperature is expected to rise by about 1.95 and 1.10°C. Precipitation is projected to increase in all seasons, albeit, more so in the cold season (i.e., boreal winter and spring) than the warm season (i.e., boreal summer and autumn). The annual increase is expected to be about 56.7% under the RCP 4.5 scenario, compared to 67.6% under the RCP 8.5 scenario. The changes of mean temperature in winter are expected to be significant, −37.8% under both RCP scenarios. For spring, the mean temperature will rise by 23.1% (28.9%) under the RCP 4.5 (8.5) scenario. A MBC approach was found to be effective in yielding reliable projected changes in precipitation and temperature variables. The proposed approach has important implications for climatological studies and evaluation of climate change impacts on localized regions, not only in China, but also in other similar areas of the world, where decisions for managing climate risk must be implemented by policy makers, government, industry and stakeholders.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 24 November 2019. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2020 06:03
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 22:14
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960303 Climate Change Models
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