Members’ Publications

Impacts of half a degree additional warming on the Asian summer monsoon rainfall characteristics

Lee D., Min S-K., Fischer E., Shiogama H., Bethke I., Lierhammer L., Scinocca J. F.
Environ. Res. Lett., 13, 044033

This study investigates the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C and 2.0°C above pre-industrial conditions (Paris Agreement target temperatures) on the South Asian and East Asian monsoon rainfall using five atmospheric global climate models participating in the 'Half a degree Additional warming, Prognosis and Projected Impacts' (HAPPI) project. Mean and extreme precipitation is projected to increase under warming over the two monsoon regions, more strongly in the 2.0°C warmer world. Moisture budget analysis shows that increases in evaporation and atmospheric moisture lead to the additional increases in mean precipitation with good inter-model agreement. Analysis of daily precipitation characteristics reveals that more-extreme precipitation will have larger increase in intensity and frequency responding to the half a degree additional warming, which is more clearly seen over the South Asian monsoon region, indicating non-linear scaling of precipitation extremes with temperature. Strong inter-model relationship between temperature and precipitation intensity further demonstrates that the increased moisture with warming (Clausius-Clapeyron relation) plays a critical role in the stronger intensification of more-extreme rainfall with warming. Results from CMIP5 coupled global climate models under a transient warming scenario confirm that half a degree additional warming would bring more frequent and stronger heavy precipitation events, exerting devastating impacts on the human and natural system over the Asian monsoon region.