Exploring qualitative regional climate projections: a case study for Nauru
Brown, JN and Brown, JR and Langlais, C and Colman, R and Risbey, JS and Murphy, BF and Moise, A and Gupta, AS and Smith, I and Wilson, L and Narsey, S and Grose, M and Wheeler, MC, Exploring qualitative regional climate projections: a case study for Nauru, Climate Research, 58, (2) pp. 165-182. ISSN 0936-577X (2013) [Refereed Article]
Coupled General Circulation Models simulate broad-scale climate patterns and are standard tools for understanding potential changes to the climate system. Climate change projection information is required at the local scale for adaptation planning. Model skill can be limited at this scale due to model biases and uncertainties. Pacific Islands are one such example, particularly Nauru which lies at the intersection of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), the Western Pacific Monsoon, the oceanic warm pool and the ENSO zone of influence. In light of such constraints, a qualitative climate projection approach is presented whereby projections are based on expected changes to the broad-scale climate features, drawing on a review of current literature and new research. Nauru sits in the region subject to seasonal and interannual migrations of the SPCZ. Climate models simulate an overly zonal SPCZ with Nauru lying too close to the dry cold tongue zone. This sets an erroneous base state for Nauru by locating it in a very different climate zone. The climate model changes in the SPCZ can be used to argue how the climate of Nauru would change were it and the SPCZ correctly collocated. Similar approaches are applied to the set of climate features influencing Nauru to generate modified climate projections.