Regional projections of North Indian climate for adaptation studies.
Adaptation is increasingly important for regions around the world where large changes in climate could have an impact on populations and industry. The Brahmaputra-Ganges catchments have a large population, a main industry of agriculture and a growing hydro-power industry, making the region susceptible to changes in the Indian Summer Monsoon, annually the main water source. The HighNoon project has completed four regional climate model simulations for India and the Himalaya at high resolution (25km) from 1960 to 2100 to provide an ensemble of simulations for the region. In this paper we have assessed the ensemble for these catchments, comparing the simulations with observations, to give credence that the simulations provide a realistic representation of atmospheric processes and therefore future climate. We have illustrated how these simulations could be used to provide information on potential future climate impacts and therefore aid decision-making using climatology and threshold analysis. The ensemble analysis shows an increase in temperature between the baseline (1970-2000) and the 2050s (2040-2070) of between 2 and 4°C and an increase in the number of days with maximum temperatures above 28°C and 35°C. There is less certainty for precipitation and runoff which show considerable variability, even in this relatively small ensemble, spanning zero. The HighNoon ensemble is the most complete data for the region providing useful information on a wide range of variables for the regional climate of the Brahmaputra-Ganges region, however there are processes not yet included in the models that could have an impact on the simulations of future climate. We have discussed these processes and show that the range from the HighNoon ensemble is similar in magnitude to potential changes in projections where these processes are included. Therefore strategies for adaptation must be robust and flexible allowing for advances in the science and natural environmental changes. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B.V.