Projections of rising heat stress over the western Maritime Continent from dynamically downscaled climate simulations


Title Projections of rising heat stress over the western Maritime Continent from dynamically downscaled climate simulations
Publication Type Journal Article
Year of Publication 2018
Authors Eun-Soon Im, Suchul Kang, Elfatih A.B. Eltahir
Journal Global and Planetary Change
Volume 165
Start Page 160
Date Published June 2018
Abstract

This study assesses the future changes in heat stress in response to different emission scenarios over the western Maritime Continent. To better resolve the region-specific changes and to enhance the performance in simulating extreme events, the MIT Regional Climate Model with a 12-km horizontal resolution is used for the dynamical downscaling of three carefully selected CMIP5 global projections forced by two Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) scenarios. Daily maximum wet-bulb temperature (TWmax), which includes the effect of humidity, is examined to describe heat stress as regulated by future changes in temperature and hu- midity. An ensemble of projections reveals robust pattern in which a large increase in temperature is accom- panied by a reduction in relative humidity but a significant increase in wet-bulb temperature. This increase in TWmax is relatively smaller over flat and coastal regions than that over mountainous region. However, the flat and coastal regions characterized by warm and humid present-day climate will be at risk even under modest increase in TWmax. The regional extent exposed to higher TWmax and the number of days on which TWmax exceeds its threshold value are projected to be much higher in RCP8.5 scenario than those in RCP4.5 scenario, thus highlighting the importance of controlling greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the adverse impacts on human health and heat-related mortality.

DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.02.014
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