Climate change impact assessment: uncertainty modeling with imprecise probability

Ghosh, Subimal ; Mujumdar, P. P. (2009) Climate change impact assessment: uncertainty modeling with imprecise probability Journal of Geophysical Research, 114 (D18). Article ID D18113. ISSN 0148-0227

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Hydrologic impacts of climate change are usually assessed by downscaling the General Circulation Model (GCM) output of large-scale climate variables to local-scale hydrologic variables. Such an assessment is characterized by uncertainty resulting from the ensembles of projections generated with multiple GCMs, which is known as intermodel or GCM uncertainty. Ensemble averaging with the assignment of weights to GCMs based on model evaluation is one of the methods to address such uncertainty and is used in the present study for regional-scale impact assessment. GCM outputs of large-scale climate variables are downscaled to subdivisional-scale monsoon rainfall. Weights are assigned to the GCMs on the basis of model performance and model convergence, which are evaluated with the Cumulative Distribution Functions (CDFs) generated from the downscaled GCM output (for both 20th Century [20C3M] and future scenarios) and observed data. Ensemble averaging approach, with the assignment of weights to GCMs, is characterized by the uncertainty caused by partial ignorance, which stems from non-availability of the outputs of some of the GCMs for a few scenarios (in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] data distribution center for Assessment Report 4 [AR4]). This uncertainty is modeled with imprecise probability, i.e. the probability being represented as an interval gray number. Furthermore, the CDF generated with one GCM is entirely different from that with another and therefore the use of multiple GCMs results in a band of CDFs. Representing this band of CDFs with a single valued weighted mean CDF may be misleading. Such a band of CDFs can only be represented with an envelope that contains all the CDFs generated with a number of GCMs. Imprecise CDF represents such an envelope, which not only contains the CDFs generated with all the available GCMs but also to an extent accounts for the uncertainty resulting from the missing GCM output. This concept of imprecise probability is also validated in the present study. The imprecise CDFs of monsoon rainfall are derived for three 30-year time slices, 2020s, 2050s and 2080s, with A1B, A2 and B1 scenarios. The model is demonstrated with the prediction of monsoon rainfall in Orissa meteorological subdivision, which shows a possible decreasing trend in the future.

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ID Code:103270
Deposited On:09 Mar 2018 11:34
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