Near-term regional climate change over Bangladesh
July 5, 2021
Clim. Dyn., Vol. 57, July 2021, pp. 3055-73.
Bangladesh stands out as a climate change hot spot due to its unique geography, climate, high population density, and limited adaptation capacity. Mounting evidence suggests that the country is already suffering from the effects of climate change which may get worse without aggressive action. Here, we use an ensemble of high-resolution (10 km) regional climate model simulations to project near-term change in climate extremes, mainly heat waves and intense rainfall, for the period (2021–2050). Near-term climate projections represent a valuable input for designing sound adaptation policies. Our climate projections suggest that heatwaves will become more frequent and severe in Bangladesh under the business-as-usual scenario (RCP8.5). In particular, extremes of wet-bulb temperature (a temperature and humidity metric important in evaluating humid heat stress) in the western part of Bangladesh including Bogra, Ishurdi, and Jessore are likely to exceed the extreme danger threshold (according to U.S. National Weather Service criterion), which has rarely been observed in the current climate. The return periods of extreme heat waves are also significantly shortened across the country. In addition, country-averaged rainfall is projected to increase by about 6% during the summer months, with the largest increases (above 10%) in the eastern mountainous areas, such as Sylhet and Chittagong. Meanwhile, insignificant changes in extreme rainfall are simulated. Our results suggest that Bangladesh is particularly susceptible