Multi-year variability or unidirectional trends? Mapping long-term precipitation and temperature changes in continental Southeast Asia using PRECIS regional climate model

Abstract

The subject of change detection in climate time series has recently received greater interest as the perception of a human-induced change in the climate is now widely accepted. However, changes in regional precipitation and temperature remain uncertain. This study characterizes projected fine-scale changes in precipitation and temperature in continental Southeast Asia over the period 1960–2049. Twenty four annual variables were derived from grid-based daily precipitation and temperature produced by the PRECIS regional climate model under A2 and B2 scenarios. These time series, capturing precipitation intensities (classified as low, medium and high), seasonality and extremes in precipitation and temperature, were subjected to the modified Mann-Kendall trend detection test accounting for long-term persistence. The results indicate that temperature increases over the whole region with steeper trends in higher latitudes. Increases in annual precipitation, mainly restricted to Myanmar and the Gulf of Thailand, result from increases in high precipitation during the wet season. Decreases are observed mainly over the sea and caused by a reduction of low precipitation. Changes in the occurrence of the monsoon affect the low-latitude sea areas only. By showing that significant precipitation change are minor over land areas, these results challenge most of the previous studies that suggested significant precipitation changes over Southeast Asia, often mixing up multi-decadal variability and long-term unidirectional trends. Significant changes in precipitation and temperature may induce higher agricultural yields as steepest temperature and precipitation increases will predominantly affect the coldest and driest land areas of the region.

Citation

Lacombe, G.; Chu Thai Hoanh; Smakhtin, V. Multi-year variability or unidirectional trends? Mapping long-term precipitation and temperature changes in continental Southeast Asia using PRECIS regional climate model. Climatic Change (2012) 113 (2) 285-299. [DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0359-3]

Multi-year variability or unidirectional trends? Mapping long-term precipitation and temperature changes in continental Southeast Asia using PRECIS regional climate model

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