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Future climatic changes, extreme events, related uncertainties, and policy recommendations in the Hindu Kush sub-regions of Pakistan

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This study explores the relative changes and future projections of temperature and precipitation for baseline (1976–2005) and future (2006–2040, 2041–2070, and 2071–2100) periods for the Bajaur, Mohmand, and Khyber districts of Pakistan situated in the Hindu Kush region. Data from 14 GCMs (out of which five GCMs were selected based on evaluation and validation) and three RCMs were downscaled and bias corrected using the quantile delta mapping (QDM) method for GCMs and the best easy systemic (BES) method for RCMs. The future extremes were projected by using the standard indices from the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI). Uncertainty in the data was analysed by a probabilistic distribution function (PDF), boxplots, and standard deviation. For RCP4.5, the GCM and RCM projections show an increase in the average maximum temperature of 0.98 °C for 2006–2040, 1.89 °C and 2.04 °C for 2041–2070, and 2.25 °C and 2.56 °C for 2071–2100, respectively, while the increase is almost double for RCP8.5 during the last period (2071–2099) over the whole study area. The percent increase in precipitation over the whole study area from GCMs and RCMs for RCP4.5 is 10.00–17.00% and 21.14–34.47%, while for RCP8.5, it is 11.73–22.12% and 16.17–31.50%, respectively. In RCM projections for RCP4.5, the Khyber district will experience drier conditions in mid-century, while for GCMs (RCP4.5), the same conditions are projected through the end of the century. In terms of extreme events, warm temperature extremes and extreme precipitation events show an increasing trend accompanied by a decrease in cold extremes over all regions. Hence, it is concluded that warm and wet conditions are projected to prevail in all regions. However, GCM data depict less uncertainty compared with RCM data, and while models show less error for the baseline period, the error increases slightly for the future periods. Thus, this study provides research findings along with policy recommendations essential to combat the potential impacts of projected changes in the regional climate.

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We acknowledge APN Project (CRRP2018-04MY-Ali), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Federally Administered Tribal Areas Water Resources Development Project (FWRDP), and Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) for supporting and providing us the opportunity to conduct this study. We also acknowledge the travel support of Asian Network on Climate Science and Technology (ANCST) and Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) for the presentation of this study in the workshop on Status of Climate Science and Technology in Asia for IPCC AR6 15-16 Nov 2018, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Correspondence to Shaukat Ali or Shah Fahad.

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Ali, S., Saeed, A., Kiani, R.S. et al. Future climatic changes, extreme events, related uncertainties, and policy recommendations in the Hindu Kush sub-regions of Pakistan. Theor Appl Climatol 143, 193–209 (2021).

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