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Climate Change Over India in the IPCC AR4 Simulations

PI: Raghavendra Ashrit
Institution: National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, India
Abstract:
The Assessment Report No 4 (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, documents the actual knowledge on the state and the change of global and regional climate. The Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (CAOGCM) climate change simulations are available for various scenarios of greenhouse gas (GHG) and anthropogenic sulfate aerosol emissions. The simulations can be characterized as (1) Reconstruction of an "undisturbed" pre—industrial climate (2) Climate change experiments forced with observed atmospheric greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations since the middle of the 19th century (3) Scenario experiments of climate change based on different assumptions on future greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations (4) CO2 sensitivity experiments (1% per year increase). The new simulations show a mean global warming between 2.5 and 4.1 degrees Celsius until the end of this century - dependent on how much greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. One of the consequences: the seasonal varying sea ice decreases - the arctic could become ice free during late summer when the emissions will not be reduced.

Climate over the Indian region is dominated by the monsoon rainfall during June- September. While the monsoon rainfall averaged over India shows no long term trend, the strong interannual variability results in extreme flood/drought conditions. Extreme flood/drought conditions in this region of over a billion often lead to catastrophe. Several of the earlier studies using CAOGCM climate change simulations have shown that in a warmer future climate scenario corresponding to late 21st century, Indian monsoon rainfall (IMR) shows an increase of over 10% relative to the 20th century climatology. This increase in rainfall is accompanied by enhanced strength of monsoon circulation due to enhanced warming of the Eurasian continent. The scenarios also indicate increase in the variability of the monsoon rainfall which would mean an increase in the frequency of extreme flood/drought years. This study examines these aspects of impact of global warming on the regional climate over India with special emphasis on the IMR and its interannual variability.
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