Projected Climate Change in the Himalayas during the Twenty-First Century
In this chapter we synthesize our current understanding of projected climate change in the greater Himalayan region during the twenty-first century. This understanding has been constrained by the sparsity of climate observations and relatively greater limitations of our current modeling framework to represent the complex topographical influence of this vast high elevation region. Here, we examine studies that have analyzed global and regional climate model experiments for the greater Himalayan region to assess and quantify (a) future increases in temperature and how this warming trend varies with elevation, (b) climate feedbacks that amplify the warming in these high mountain regions, (c) changes in large-scale circulation that transport moisture and energy into the region, and (d) the implications from all of the above on the nature of precipitation, i.e., phase, amount and extremes, and the fate of its cryosphere. Wherever plausible, we compare these model projections with observations from recent decades to better constrain, as well as further improve, our understanding of the perceived hydroclimatic changes in this region during the twenty-first century.
IR acknowledges support from the Western Water Assessment and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. JRM acknowledges support from the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the USDA-National Institute for Food and Agriculture, Hatch project number NJ32103.
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