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Rainfall in Queensland: Part 5: projected changes in Queensland rainfall under double-CO2 conditions in the HiGEM model

Klingaman, N. P., (2012) Rainfall in Queensland: Part 5: projected changes in Queensland rainfall under double-CO2 conditions in the HiGEM model. Technical Report. Queensland Government, Brisbane, Australia. pp63.

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Abstract/Summary

This report analyses projected changes in Queensland rainfall from the HiGEM global climate model under atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations of approximately 690 parts per million (ppm), equivalent to the CO2 concentration in the late 21st century under a moderate (IPCC SRES (2012) A1B) emissions scenario. HiGEM is a high-resolution version of the U.K. Met Office model (HadGEM1). Previously reported research found that with present-day CO2, HiGEM accurately simulated many observed climate drivers of Queensland rainfall, including the El Niño Southern Oscillation; this increases our confidence in the model’s projections of rainfall change. The HiGEM model projects that average surface temperatures in Queensland will warm by approximately 2°C under doubled CO2, with the strongest warming in autumn and winter. Consistent with many other studies, the land warms by more than the ocean, leading to greater warming inland in Queensland and less along the coast. While HiGEM projects small changes to annual-total rainfall, the November–April wet season becomes compressed: 10–20 per cent more rain falls during January and February, with 10–40 per cent less in November, March and April. The Queensland wet season begins up to 10 days later—particularly along the coast—and ends up to 20 days earlier—particularly in the southwest. Precipitation falls in fewer but much more intense events. The HiGEM model projects that Queensland will rely more strongly upon heavy mid-summer rains for its annual precipitation. This has important consequences for agriculture and for water storage. The frequency of extreme rain days (greater than 100 millimetre accumulation) in HiGEM increases by up to 40 per cent, particularly in summer during the intensified monsoon. HiGEM also projects that the average duration of extreme rainfall will rise (by 20 per cent) as will the area covered by each event (15 per cent). The number of light rain days (1–5 millimetre) is projected to decrease by 5–10 per cent. Tropical cyclones become slightly less frequent near Queensland. The HiGEM model projects that many climate drivers of rainfall will remain robust in a warmer world. The correlation with ENSO declines, but there are an inadequate number of ENSO events in the future-climate simulation on which to base firm conclusions. Rainfall variations in southwest and southeast Queensland become less connected to those in the rest of the state, mostly due to an earlier end of the wet season in those regions.

Item Type:Report (Technical Report)
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Walker Institute
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:67987
Publisher:Queensland Government

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