A Multivariate Assessment of Climate Change Projections over South America Using the Fifth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project

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International Journal of Climatology

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This study presents results from an assessment of climate change projections over South America using fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project models. Change in near‐surface temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, integrated water vapour transport (IVT), sea level pressure (SLP), and wind at three pressure levels is quantified across the multi‐model suite. Additionally, model agreement for the sign and significance of projected change is assessed within the ensemble. Models are in strong agreement that the highest magnitude of projected warming will be over tropical regions. The CMIP5 models project a decrease in precipitation for all seasons over southern South America, especially along the northern portions of the present‐day mid‐latitude storm track. This is consistent with a robustly projected poleward shift of the Pacific extratropical high‐pressure system and mid‐latitude storm track indicated by a systematic increase in SLP and decrease in westerly wind magnitude over the region. Decreased precipitation for the months of September, October, and November is also projected, with strong model agreement, over portions of northern and northeastern Brazil, coincident with decreases in SLP and increases in evapotranspiration. IVT is broadly projected to decrease over southern South America, coincident with the projected poleward shift of the mid‐latitude storm track, with increases projected in the vicinity of the South Atlantic Convergence Zone in spring and summer. Results provide a comprehensive picture of climate change across South America and highlight where model consensus on change is most robust.


© 2021 Royal Meteorological Society

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