Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (1): 25-40.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202001003

• Climate Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Response of precipitation change in Central Asia to emission scenarios consistent with the Paris Agreement

WANG Fang1, ZHANG Jintao1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-05-21 Revised:2019-12-20 Online:2020-01-25 Published:2020-03-25
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Leading Science and Technology Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20020202);National Key R&D Program of China(2016YFA0602704);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771050)


To limit global mean warming to below 2.0 ℃ in accordance with the Paris Agreement, countries submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for emission reductions. Those emissions will be the key determinant to the future climate change impacts. However, it remains unclear what the resulting changes in the regional precipitation and its extremes would be under the INDC pledges. Here, we analyze the response of precipitation in Central Asia to emission scenarios under warming resulting from the INDC pledges (as of May 2019), based on an ensemble of comprehensive Earth System Models from the Coupled Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). Our results show an increase in the mean precipitation in Central Asia by the end of the 21st century by 10.6% (4.6%-13.3%) for INDC-pledge scenario. However, spatial heterogeneity of precipitation changes reflects the complexity of precipitation responses in future climate projections. Furthermore, heavy precipitation events will strengthen with the enhanced warming, but the trend of dry spell events increases or decreases in different regions. Considering the impacts of precipitation-related extremes, we find that the projected population exposure to heavy rainfall and dry spell events will significantly increase in most Central Asian regions. Limiting warming to lower levels (such as 2.0 ℃ or 1.5 ℃) would reduce the population exposure to heavy rainfall, thereby avoiding impacts associated with more intense precipitation extremes. These results contribute to an improved understanding of future risk from climate extremes, which is paramount for mitigation and adaptation activities for Central Asia, an ecologically fragile area.

Key words: INDC pledge, precipitation, extreme events, dry spells, extreme precipitation exposure