Impacts of global warming on hydrological cycles in the Asian monsoon region

Koji Dairaku, Seita Emori, Toru Nozawa

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The hydrologic changes and the impact of these changes constitute a fundamental global-warming-related concern. Faced with threats to human life and natural ecosystems, such as droughts, floods, and soil erosion, water resource planners must increasingly make future risk assessments. Though hydrological predictions associated with the global climate change are already being performed, mainly through the use of GCMs, coarse spatial resolutions and uncertain physical processes limit the representation of terrestrial water/energy interactions and the variability in such systems as the Asian monsoon. Despite numerous studies, the regional responses of hydrologic changes resulting from climate change remains inconclusive. In this paper, an attempt at dynamical downscaling of future hydrologic projection under global climate change in Asia is addressed. The authors conducted present and future Asian regional climate simulations which were nested in the results of Atmospheric General Circulation Model (AGCM) experiments. The regional climate model could capture the general simulated features of the AGCM. Also, some regional phenomena such as orographic precipitation, which did not appear in the outcome of the AGCM simulation, were successfully produced. Under global warming, the increase of water vapor associated with the warmed air temperature was projected. It was projected to bring more abundant water vapor to the southern portions of India and the Bay of Bengal, and to enhance precipitation especially over the mountainous regions, the western part of India and the southern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. As a result of the changes in the synoptic flow patterns and precipitation under global warming, the increases of annual mean precipitation and surface runoff were projected in many regions of Asia. However, both the positive and negative changes of seasonal surface runoff were projected in some regions which will increase the flood risk and cause a mismatch between water demand and water availability in the agricultural season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-973
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Asian monsoon region
  • Dynamical downscaling
  • Hydrologic change
  • Regional climate model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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