Study of Multi-Model Ensemble High-Resolution Projections of Major Climatic Variables Over the Indus River Basin and Pakistan
Water resources managers and policy-makers need reliable projections of hydro-climatic conditions to develop sound water management policies. Global Climate Models (GCMs) are the primary basis for projecting how the climate may change over the coming decades. However, GCMs have low spatial resolution and inherent biases that limit their direct utility for understanding localized climate change impacts. These limitations are particularly pronounced in mountainous areas, where the terrain exhibits variations at scales much finer than the GCM grid spacing. The main goal of this study is to downscale precipitation and mean temperature simulations from an ensemble of 10 GCMs that participated in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase-5 (CMIP5) under two Representative Concentration Pathways – RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The simulations were bias corrected using quantile mapping and downscaled to a 30 arc second spatial resolution (approximately 1 km) through using the delta method over the Indus River Basin and Pakistan for 2040-2070. The GCM processing was carried out using the Global Climate Data (GCD) package. The results show that for all seasons and most of the Indus River Basin (IRB) and Pakistan, future precipitation will be highly uncertain except UIB wherein mean annual precipitation is projected to increase by 8% under RCP 4.5 and 14% under RCP 8.5. However, the models are highly confident about increase in the temperature for this region. Relative to the baseline period (1960-1990), the annual mean temperature in the IRB is projected to increase by 2°C under RCP 4.5 and 2.6°C under RCP 8.5 for 2040-2070.