- Journal Article
Abstract: We present results from large ensembles of projected 21st century changes in seasonal precipitation and near-surface air temperature for the nation of South Africa. These ensembles are a result of combining Monte Carlo projections from a human-Earth system model of intermediate complexity with pattern-scaled responses from climate models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). These future ensemble scenarios consider a range of global actions to abate emissions through the 21st century.
We evaluate distributions of surface-air temperature and precipitation change over three sub-national regions: western, central, and eastern South Africa. In all regions, We find that without any emissions or climate targets in place, there is a greater than 50% likelihood that mid-century temperatures will increase threefold over the current climate’s two-standard deviation range of variability. However, scenarios that consider more aggressive climate targets all but eliminate the risk of these salient temperature increases. A preponderance of risk toward decreased precipitation (3 to 4 times higher than increased) exists for western and central South Africa.
Strong climate targets abate evolving regional hydroclimatic risks. Under a target to limit global climate warming to 1.5˚C by 2100, the risk of precipitation changes within South Africa toward the end of this century (2065-2074) is commensurate to the risk during the 2030s without any global climate target. Thus, these regional hydroclimate risks over South Africa could be delayed by 30 years, and in doing so, provide invaluable lead-time for national efforts to prepare, fortify, and/or adapt.
Figures: Figures are not included in the attached draft, but most are unchanged from Joint Program Report 342 (see link above).