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CR 58:165-182 (2013)  -  DOI:

Exploring qualitative regional climate projections: a case study for Nauru

Jaclyn N. Brown1,*, Josephine R. Brown2, Clothilde Langlais1, Rob Colman2, James S. Risbey1, Bradley F. Murphy2, Aurel Moise2, Alex Sen Gupta3, Ian Smith2, Louise Wilson4, Sugata Narsey4, Michael Grose4, Matthew C. Wheeler2

1Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
2Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia
3Climate Change Research Centre, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
4Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO, Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia

ABSTRACT: 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.

KEY WORDS: Climate projections · Tropical Pacific · ENSO · SPCZ · Islands

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Cite this article as: Brown JN, Brown JR, Langlais C, Colman R and others (2013) Exploring qualitative regional climate projections: a case study for Nauru. Clim Res 58:165-182.

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