Projected changes in seasonal and extreme summertime temperature and precipitation in India in response to COVID-19 recovery emissions scenarios

Citation:

Jonathan D'Souza, Felix Prasanna, Luna-Nefeli Valayannopoulos-Akrivou, Peter John Sherman, Elise Penn, Shaojie Song, Alexander Archibald, and Michael B McElroy. 2021. “Projected changes in seasonal and extreme summertime temperature and precipitation in India in response to COVID-19 recovery emissions scenarios.” Environmental Research Letters. Publisher's Version

Abstract:

Fossil fuel and aerosol emissions have played important roles on climate over the Indian subcontinent over the last century. As the world transitions toward decarbonization in the next few decades, emissions pathways could have major impacts on India's climate and people. Pathways for future emissions are highly uncertain, particularly at present as countries recover from COVID-19. This paper explores a multimodel ensemble of Earth system models leveraging potential global emissions pathways following COVID-19 and the consequences for India's summertime (June-July-August-September) climate in the near- and long-term. We investigate specifically scenarios which envisage a fossil-based recovery, a strong renewable-based recovery and a moderate scenario in between the two. We find that near-term climate changes are dominated by natural climate variability, and thus likely independent of the emissions pathway. By 2050, pathway-induced spatial patterns in the seasonally-aggregated precipitation become clearer with a drying in the fossil-based scenario and wetting in the strong renewable scenario. Additionally, extreme temperature and precipitation events in India are expected to increase in magnitude and frequency regardless of the emissions scenario, though the spatial patterns of these changes as well as the extent of the change are pathway dependent. This study provides an important discussion on the impacts of emissions recover pathways following COVID-19 on India, a nation which is likely to be particularly susceptible to climate change over the coming decades.
Last updated on 10/15/2021