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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 4, issue 2
Earth Syst. Dynam., 4, 199-217, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-4-199-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Predictions under change: water, earth, and biota in the anthropocene...

Earth Syst. Dynam., 4, 199-217, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-4-199-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Jul 2013

Research article | 30 Jul 2013

Hydrological cycle over South and Southeast Asian river basins as simulated by PCMDI/CMIP3 experiments

S. Hasson1,2, V. Lucarini1,3, and S. Pascale1 S. Hasson et al.
  • 1Meteorological Institute, KlimaCampus, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Abstract. We investigate how the climate models contributing to the PCMDI/CMIP3 dataset describe the hydrological cycle over four major South and Southeast Asian river basins (Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mekong) for the 20th, 21st (13 models) and 22nd (10 models) centuries. For the 20th century, some models do not seem to conserve water at the river basin scale up to a good degree of approximation. The simulated precipitation minus evaporation (PE), total runoff (R) and precipitation (P) quantities are neither consistent with the observations nor among the models themselves. Most of the models underestimate PE for all four river basins, which is mainly associated with the underestimation of precipitation. This is in agreement with the recent results on the biases of the representation of monsoonal dynamics by GCMs. Overall, a modest inter-model agreement is found only for the evaporation and inter-annual variability of PE. For the 21st and 22nd centuries, models agree on the negative (positive) changes of PE for the Indus basin (Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mekong basins). Most of the models foresee an increase in the inter-annual variability of PE for the Ganges and Mekong basins, thus suggesting an increase in large low-frequency dry/wet events. Instead, no considerable future change in the inter-annual variability of PE is found for the Indus and Brahmaputra basins.

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