Exploring objective climate classification for the Himalayan arc and adjacent regions using gridded data sources
- Centre for Earth Systems Engineering Research (CESER), School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
Abstract. A three-step climate classification was applied to a spatial domain covering the Himalayan arc and adjacent plains regions using input data from four global meteorological reanalyses. Input variables were selected based on an understanding of the climatic drivers of regional water resource variability and crop yields. Principal component analysis (PCA) of those variables and k-means clustering on the PCA outputs revealed a reanalysis ensemble consensus for eight macro-climate zones. Spatial statistics of input variables for each zone revealed consistent, distinct climatologies. This climate classification approach has potential for enhancing assessment of climatic influences on water resources and food security as well as for characterising the skill and bias of gridded data sets, both meteorological reanalyses and climate models, for reproducing subregional climatologies. Through their spatial descriptors (area, geographic centroid, elevation mean range), climate classifications also provide metrics, beyond simple changes in individual variables, with which to assess the magnitude of projected climate change. Such sophisticated metrics are of particular interest for regions, including mountainous areas, where natural and anthropogenic systems are expected to be sensitive to incremental climate shifts.