Multi-model climate change projections for India under representative concentration pathways

Climate projections for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are made using the newly developed representative concentration pathways (RCPs) under the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project 5 (CMIP5). This article provides multi-model and multi-scenario temperature and precipitation projections for India for the period 1860–2099 based on the new climate data. We find that CMIP5 ensemble mean climate is closer to observed climate than any individual model. The key findings of this study are: (i) under the business-asusual (between RCP6.0 and RCP8.5) scenario, mean warming in India is likely to be in the range 1.7–2°C by 2030s and 3.3–4.8°C by 2080s relative to preindustrial times; (ii) all-India precipitation under the business-as-usual scenario is projected to increase from 4% to 5% by 2030s and from 6% to 14% towards the end of the century (2080s) compared to the 1961–1990 baseline; (iii) while precipitation projections are generally less reliable than temperature projections, model agreement in precipitation projections increases from RCP2.6 to RCP8.5, and from short- to long-term projections, indicating that longterm precipitation projections are generally more robust than their short-term counterparts and (iv) there is a consistent positive trend in frequency of extreme precipitation days (e.g. > 40 mm/day) for decades 2060s and beyond. These new climate projections should be used in future assessment of impact of climate change and adaptation planning. There is need to consider not just the mean climate projections, but also the more important extreme projections in impact studies and as well in adaptation planning. Full text:

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