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Research Report GCISC-RR-05

Assessment of Future Changes in Temperature Related Extreme Indices over Pakistan using Regional Climate Model PRECIS

Siraj ul Islam, Nadia Rehman, M. Munir Sheikh Arshad M. Khan

June 2009

Published by: Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) National Centre for Physics (NCP) Complex Quaid-i-Azam University Campus P.O. Box 3022, Islamabad-44000 Pakistan

ISBN: 978-969-9395-03-1


Copyright. This Report, or any part of it, may not be used for resale or any other commercial or gainful purpose without prior permission of Global Change Impact Studies Centre, Islamabad, Pakistan. For educational or non-profit use, however, any part of the Report may be reproduced with appropriate acknowledgement.

Published in: June 2009

This Report may be cited as follows: Islam, S., N. Rehman, M. M. Sheikh and A.M. Khan (2009), Assessment of Future Changes in Temperature Related Extreme Indices over Pakistan using Regional Climate Model PRECIS. GCISC-RR-05, Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), Islamabad, Pakistan


Foreword Preface List of Tables List of Figures List of Acronyms 1. 2. 3. Introduction Model, Data and Methodology Performance of the Downscaled Data
3.1 3.2 Validation Results Projected Future Changes ii iii iv v

1 2 2 5 12 12 12 13

4. 5. 6.

Conclusions Concluding Remarks Acknowledgments References


Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) was established in 2002 as a dedicated research centre for climate change and other global change related studies, at the initiative of Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, NI, HI, SI, the then Special Advisor to Chief Executive of Pakistan. The Centre has since been engaged in research on past and projected climate change in different sub regions of Pakistan; corresponding impacts on the country's key sectors; in particular Water and Agriculture; and adaptation measures to counter the negative impacts. The work described in this report was carried out at GCISC and was supported in part by APN (Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research), Kobe, Japan, through its CAPaBLE Programme under a 3-year capacity enhancement cum research Project titled "Enhancement of national capabilities in the application of simulation models for assessment of climate change and its impacts on water resources, and food and agricultural production", awarded to GCISC in 2003 in collaboration with Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). It is hoped that the report will provide useful information to national planners and policymakers as well as to academic and research organizations in the country on issues related to impacts of climate change on Pakistan. The keen interest and support by Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, Advisor (S & T) to the Planning Commission and useful technical advice by Dr. Amir Muhammed, Rector, National University for Computer and Emerging Sciences and Member, Scientific Planning Group, APN, throughout the course of this work are gratefully acknowledged.

Dr. Arshad M. Khan Executive Director, GCISC


Global warming due to climate change caused by the anthropogenic Green House gases has precipitated research on climate change focusing on investigating the past climate and predicting the future climate using different climate models. Climate extreme indices developed by the joint CCl/CLIVAR/JCOMM Expert Team (ET) on Climate Change Detection and Monitoring Indices (ETCCDMI) are useful to investigate the trends in climate extreme indices and then to use them for evaluating their potential impacts on different socio-economic sectors such as water resources, agriculture etc. A Regional Climate Model (RCM) simulation was used at GCISC to study the future variations in temperature extreme indices, particularly the changes in the frequency of warm and cold spells over Pakistan for IPCC SRES A2 scenario. The analyses are done on the basis of two 30-year simulations with the Hadley Center, UK's Regional Climate Model PRECIS, at a horizontal resolution of 50 krn. Simulation for the period 1961-1990 represents the recent climate and simulation for the period 2071-2100 represents the future climate. These simulations are driven by lateral boundary conditions from HadAM3P Global Climate Model (GCM) of Hadley Centre UK. For validation of the model, observed mean, maximum and minimum temperatures for the period 1961-1990, at 17 stations in Pakistan for which digitized daily data of temperature (maximum and minimum) was available, are first averaged and then compared with the RCM simulated averaged grid-box data. The observed monthly gridded data set of CRU (Climate Research Unit, UK) is also used to validate the model. Temperature indices in the base period as well as in future are then calculated and the corresponding changes observed. Spatial change in the percentile based temperature indices shows that in summer, increase in daily minimum temperature is more as compared to increase in daily maximum temperature whereas in winter, the change in maximum temperature is higher than that in minimum temperature. The occurrence of cold spells shows significantly decreasing trend while, there is slight increasing trend for warm spells over Pakistan.


List of Tables

Table 1 Table 2 Table 3

The ETCCDMI indices used in this study PRECIS Validation with CRU data sets Future Change in the temperature extreme indices over Pakistan

4 11


List of Figures

Figure 1

Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of model data for temperature over Pakistan (compared with CRU data sets)

Figure 2

Scatter plot for temperature between model output and observed CRU data over Pakistan Probability distribution functions (PDFs). Comparison of simulated model output with station data Annual change in minimum and maximum temperature over Pakistan Temperature changes m TXx , TXn, TNx and TNn indices Warm and Cold spells duration index changes between A2 and control run Pdf analysis of changes in temperature extremes for summer (JJAS) and winter (DJFM) Change in TXlOp (Tmaxl0th), TX90p (Tmax90th), TN10p (Tmin l0th) and TN90p (TMin90th) percentiles for summer temperature Change in TXl0p (Tmax10th), TX90p (Tmax90th), TN10p (Tmin10th) and TN90p (Tmin90th) percentiles for winter temperature

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

Figure 8a


Figure 8b



List of Acronyms

Most of the Acronyms and abbreviation, wherever they appear in text, are defined.


Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, Kobe, Japan Climate variability and predictability Commission for Climatology Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia, UK December, January, February, March European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting Expert Team (ET) on Climate Change Detection and Monitoring Indices ECMWF 15 years Reanalysis Dataset ECMWF 40 years Reanalysis Dataset General Circulation Model/Global Climate Model Global Change Impact Studies Centre, Islamabad, Pakistan Hadley Centre Atmospheric General Circulation Model 3P Hadley Centre Coupled Model, Version 3 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change June, July, August & September Pakistan Meteorological Department, Pakistan Providing Regional Climate for Impact Studies, (RCM) Regional Climate Model/Modelling Root Mean Square Error Special Report on Emission Scenarios United Kingdom World Climate Research Programme




1. Introduction
In many studies, climate change scenarios are developed to see their impact on the mean future climate descriptions but changes in climate variability and extremes of weather and climate events have received increased attention in the last few years (IPCC, Houghton et al., 2001). For developing high resolution climate change scenarios, Regional Climate Models (RCMs) provide a tool to dynamically downscale the GCM outputs through the regional details superimposed on specified regions. These high-resolution dynamic RCMs nested in GCM are becoming an increasingly important tool in climate research (Giorgi et a1.2001). As RCMs can also be used for climate extreme indices (Bohm et al., 2004; Huth and Pokoma, 2005). An RCM based climate scenario experiment is used in this study to estimate the future variations and 'change in the extreme temperature indices. This study is centered over Pakistan which is a region having diversified climatology. Pakistan lies partly in the subtropics and partly in temperate regions and its climate is generally arid, characterized by hot summers and cold winters, and wide variations between extremes of temperature at different locations. The coastal area along the Arabian Sea is usually warm, whereas the frozen snow-covered ridges of the Karakoram Range and of other mountains in the north are very cold through out the year. Daily output data from the model is used to analyze temperature extreme indices such as TXx, TXn, TNx, TNn, frequency of warm and cold spell duration indices (WSDI and CSDI) as well as percentile based extreme temperature indices over Pakistan. Monthly validation of RCM output data for the temperature shows satisfactory results whereas in validating temperature indices with the observed climatology (station data) in the base period, the performance is seen not so good. However the over all trends of the indices are in accordance with the observed trends. We have further used the model output for future analysis to analyze the expected future trends in these temperature indices. The results show significant changes in daily temperature extreme indices.

2. Model, Data and Methodology

The model used in this experiment is PRECIS (providing REgional Climates for Impacts Studies) which is a third-generation Regional Climate Model of Hadley Centre UK. This atmospheric and land surface model of limited area is based on the Hadley Center's latest GCM, HadCM3 (Gordon et al., 2000) having high resolution of 0.44 and 0.22 degree with 19 levels in the atmosphere up to 30 km from surface and four levels in the soil. This RCM system incorporates the current version of the HadRM3H RCM, which has dynamic and physics similar to the HadCM3 GCM. The downscaling of climate change scenarios used in this study follows the methodology developed by the Hadley Centre (Jones et a1. 2004). The horizontal resolution used for the simulation is taken as 0.440 (~ 50 km) with the domain covering South Asia from 5 to 50 North and 55 to 100 East. The model was driven by input data of HadAM3P model which is a high resolution (150 km) atmospheric part of HadCM3 GCM (Gordon et a1. 2000, Cox et a1. 1999, Pope et al. 2000). The IPCC SRES A2 scenario data was downscaled in two thirty years simulations comprising time periods 1961-1990 in base line and 2071-2100 in future, as for reliable climate change statistics, ideally 30 year's simulation time period is generally needed. To validate and compare downscaled data on monthly basis, the CRU (Climate Research Unit, UK) data set (New et al, 1999) of monthly mean temperature on 0.5 degree resolution is used. Model output is first regrided to regular latitude / longitude grids (dx=dy=50km) to make the

comparison possible. For the validation of extreme temperature indices, daily data of the 17 stations over Pakistan has been used for the period 1961-1990. This is done by first averaging all the stations data into one daily time series and is then compared with the simulated one. For extreme climate analysis, a major issue that comes across is the proper and authentic definition of the various types of extreme indices. The joint World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology (CCI) World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) project on climate variability and predictability (CLIV AR) Expert Team on Climate Change Detection, Monitoring and Indices (ETCCDMI) has developed a suite of core climate extreme indices. In this study, some of these indices are used to evaluate the simulations of PRECIS in the baseline period, and then analyze future changes in the extremes. Indices used in the analysis are shown in Table 1. Table 1:

The ETCCDMI indices used in this study

Max Tmax Max Tmin Min Tmax Min Tmin Cool nights Cool days Warm nights Warm days Warm spell duration index Cold spell duration index Monthly maximum value of daily maximum temperature Monthly maximum value of daily minimum temperature Monthly minimum value of daily maximum temperature Monthly minimum value of daily minimum temperature Percentage of days when TN< IOth percentile Percentage of days when TX <10th percentile Percentage of days when TN>90th percentile Percentage of days when TX>90th percentile Annual count of days with at least 6 consecutive days when TX>90th percentile Annual count of days with at least 6 consecutive days when TN<10th percentile


* Spatial patterns of future changes in these four indices TN10p, TX10p, TN90p and TX90p are calculated in the
units of C instead of days.

The observed indices are calculated based on daily data during the period 1961-1990 for 17 stations over Pakistan. For this RClimdex software (Zhang and Yang, 2004) is used. For the future change a long-term extreme temperature change assessment is conducted by inspecting changes in percentile-based temperature indices that describe the percentage number of cool days and cool nights (TXI0p and TNI0p) and warm days and warm nights (TX90p and TN90p) besides other temperature indices.

3. Performance of the Downscaled Data

3.1 Validation Results

Various numerical and statistical techniques are used on annual and seasonal basis to assess the model performance over Pakistan. Spatial pattern of Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of temperature is shown in Figure 1. From the mean climatology of 30 years in the base period, it is clear that the local distribution of temperature over the whole region is well captured by the model but with biases over some regions. The RMSE is some what higher in northern areas as compared to the remaining parts of Pakistan. This is because of the very complex topography of northern areas. The scatter plot of monthly temperature (simulated and observed) is shown in Figure 2. As a whole, the model performance (as compared to CRU data) in simulating temperature is reasonably good. In Table.2, Correlation, RMSE and Bias are tabulated. RMSE is large in northern part as compared to southern part of Pakistan. The over all annual correlation of the model output with the observed CRU data is very high showing that 30 years variability of the temperature is well simulated. A probability distribution function of both station (Stations averaged over Pakistan) and model daily data is shown in Figure 3, which shows a slight change in distribution spread keeping the means almost same. This shows a good agreement of downscaled performance of the model. For the comparison of the indices in base period, the model daily output was validated against daily observed data of stations over Pakistan. Both of the data sets i.e. model output and station data were used as inputs to RClimdex (Zhang and Yang, 2004) statistical software for climate indices calculations. From the analysis, it was observed that, the validation of model daily data with station daily data was not reliable, as in the model, topographic features like narrow peaks, valleys were smoothed out during the simulation which created the elevation differences. The station data, as such, needed lapse rate correction for comparison. Therefore the comparison of the indices was not possible in baseline period.

Figure 1:

Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of model data for temperature over Pakistan (compared with CRU data sets)

Figure 2:

Scatter plot for temperature between model output and observed CRU data over Pakistan

Table 2:

PRECIS Validation with CRU data sets




Bias (C) (model-cru)

Annual Summer Winter

0.95 0.29 0.15

3.30 2.11 7.95

-0.32 0.10 -1.73

Figure 3:

Probability distribution functions (PDFs). Comparison of simulated model output with station data

3.2 Projected Future Changes

After having developed our confidence in the model performance for the base period, the simulated output is then used to find the projected future changes in daily maximum (max.) and minimum (min.) temperatures and their extreme peaks for the time period 2071-2100 relative to the control run (1961-90). Future changes in min. and max. temperatures is shown in Figure 4. As compared to the central parts of the country, the change in max. temperature is lower (by 3 - 4 C) in the coastal areas and also over the extreme north of the country. In the case of min. temperature over the whole country, there is change of 4.5 to 5.5 C except over coastal areas. It is clear that the mean change in min. temperature is higher than the max. temperature. This is in accordance with the results that the min. temperatures are increasing more rapidly than the max. temperatures over several regions in the world (Alexander, L.V et al., 2006).

Figure 4:

Annual change in minimum and maximum temperature over Pakistan

Figure 5 shows future change in the TXx (highest maximum temperature), TXn (minimum of the winter day temperature), TNx (maximum of summer night temperature) and TNn (lowest minimum temperature) climate indices in each model grid box over Pakistan. The warming seen in the mean temperatures is reflected in the extreme temperatures also, and both the day and night temperatures would be higher in future. It is clear form the figure that the rise in TXn is higher than the TXx in Southeast part of Pakistan which is a plain and an irrigated area. The TXx shows an increase in temperature upto 8 C over most parts of the country where as the change in TNn is not more than 5C over many parts of Pakistan. Change in the temperature of TNx relative to base period shows an increase of 7C over south western parts whereas 3 - 5 C rise is observed over other parts of the country. In the case of TNn, 4C temperature change on the average is seen for the whole region.

Figure 5:

Temperature changes in TXx , TXn, TNx and TNn indices

Changes in trends relative to the base line period, are calculated for the future change in the Warm Spell Duration Index (WSDI) and Cold Spell Duration Index (CSDI) as shown in Figure 6. The projected trend in WSDI seems having an insignificant increase whereas the trend, in the case of CSDI, decreases quite significantly. This is happening as the future projected change in temperature is higher in winter than in summer which likely decreases the occurrence of cold spells in future.

Figure 6:

Warm and Cold spells duration index changes between A2 and control run

A rise in mean temperature would not necessarily lead to rise in extreme temperature events. If the change in mean temperature, however, was related to a shift in the distribution then this could have caused a major impact on the change in climate extreme. From the Probability distribution function (PDF) analysis shown in Figure 7, there is a shift in the mean, 90th and 10th percentile values of temperature for both seasons (summer JJAS, winter DJFM) which is in accordance with the future warming but the over all shape of the distributions is unchanged for both summer and winter seasons in future. As these PDFs are the averaged values over Pakistan, as such it smoothens out many temperature extremes which can be seen in more detail from the spatial patterns.

Figure 7:

PDF analysis of changes in temperature extremes for summer (JJAS) and winter (DJFM)

As a measure of intensity for extreme summer and winter temperature conditions, the 90th and 10th percentile based changes in max. and min. temperature of the daily data corresponding to both seasons for 30 years model period have been computed and are spatially analyzed in Figure 8(a, b). These percentile based indices are essential to describe the changes in climate thresholds and the sensitivity of extremes (Jones et al., 1999). From the figures, the change in 90th percentile of max. temperature is higher in winter than summer whereas in case of 10th percentile of max. temperature, the change is higher in summer. Change in lower threshold of min. temperature (10th percentile) is higher in summer particularly over South Western parts of Pakistan showing the daily min. temperature becoming higher. Upper threshold of minimum temperature shows higher change over northern areas of Pakistan.

Figure 8a:

Change in TX10p (Tmax10th), TX90p (Tmax90th), TNlOp (Tmin10th) and TN90p (Tmin90th) percentiles for summer temperature


Figure 8b:

Change in TX10p (Tmaxl0th), TX90p (Tmax90th), TNlOp (Tmin10th) and TN90p(Tmin90th ) percentiles for winter temperature

In Table 3, base and future annual average values are tabulated for the 8 temperature indices. Percentile based indices show that there is slight increase in the number of warm and cool days. In the case of warm and cool nights, the decrease in cool nights is higher than the warm nights in 2080s. The change is almost similar for winter and summer day and night temperature indices.

Table 3:

Future Change in the temperature extreme indices over Pakistan

It is evident form the future simulations that due to the increase in CO2 concentrations, the temperature increases and due to the rise in temperature, the intensity and frequency of extremes will also increase (IPCC, 2007). The trends simulated here are according to the global climate trend given by Tebaldi et al (2006) i.e. GCMs projections for the 21st century across the A2 scenarios is showing greater temperature extremes consistent with a warmer climate.

4. Conclusions
The validation of the model shows that PRECIS can be used for climate extremes analysis and for computing future changes. However model has bias and uncertainties particularly over Northern areas of Pakistan. Almost all of the extreme temperature indices show significant changes over the region. Trend in temperature indices reflect an increase in both max. and min. temperature. Percentile based spatial change shows that the daily min. temperature will become higher as compared to the increase in daily max. temperature in summer whereas in winter, the change in max. threshold temperature is higher than min. threshold. Change in the lower and upper threshold of summer max. temperature is high in some Northern areas of the country. The occurrence of annual cold spells trend significantly decreases while for warm spells there is slight increase. The decreasing trend in the cold spells is greater in magnitude. Changes in the frequency and intensity of temperature extreme indices have been identified as the greatest challenge that the agricultural industry would face as a result of climate change. Extreme events are difficult to predict and can devastate agricultural operations particularly for the countries where most of their economy is agrarian based. From the results seen here, it is clear that the warming will be greater during the winter months, and that night-time minimums will increase more rapidly than daytime maximums. Wanner winters will reduce cold stress and will increase the risk of damaging winter thaws and potentially reduce the amount of protective snow cover. Warming is also expected to increase the frequency of extremely hot days, which will directly damage agricultural crops over the county.

5. Concluding Remarks
The available high resolution tool for climate change projections is regional climate modeling. Unfortunately the current generation of RCMs still exhibit significant biases in important climate variables such as temperature and precipitation (Giorgi et al. 2001). For South Asia region, because of its complex topographic features, almost all the available RCMs have biases. Therefore before assessing the potential impacts of climate change confidently on human and natural systems, there is a need of further model development and evaluation of errors in the model output against observed climate data.

6. Acknowledgements
We are grateful to Hadley Centre, UK met office for providing input data and their support in using PRECIS model for developing high resolution climate change scenarios for South Asia region.




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Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) Global change science is being aggressively pursued around the world. The Global Change Impact Studies Centre was created in May 2002 to initiate this multidisciplinary effort in Pakistan. The main objective of the Centre is to comprehend the phenomenon of global change, scientifically determine its likely impacts on various socio-economic sectors in Pakistan and develop strategies to counter the adverse effects, if any. Another function of the Centre is to establish itself as a national focal point for providing cohesion to global change related activities at the national level and for linking it with international global research. An important function of the Centre is to help develop manpower that is capable of studying and participating in the international effort to study the global change phenomenon. The Centre also works to increase the awareness of the public, the scientific community and the policy planners in the country to global change.

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