SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia

Introduction

The Southeast Asia (SEA) region, a region with a population of more than 500 million, is considered as a high-risk region to be greatly affected by climate change due to its high exposure, low adaptive capacity and high vulnerability. For countries to prepare for adaptation measures, high-resolution regional climate change scenarios are elementary requirements for carrying impact assessment studies. However, such impact assessment studies are often limited by the unavailability of latest, freely accessible and high-resolution climate change scenarios. To generate such high-resolution products from coarse general circulation model (GCM) outputs, one requires a regional climate model to "refine" the GCM outputs via a technique known as a dynamical climate downscaling, which is known to be time-consuming and resource-expensive. To provide ranges of uncertainties from different models and future GHG emissions, downscaling exercises must employ multiple GCMs and RCPs. For a single country or a single institution in the region to downscale multiple GCMs and RCPs remains a greate challenge. The SEA region is undoubtedly lagging behind from other regions in regional climate downscaling activities and hence large knowledge gaps exists e.g. as indicated in the IPCC WG1 AR5 for SEA regional assesment of physical basis of climate change. In the interest of countries within the region, regional climate downscaling can be implemented on a task-sharing basis where tasks can be somewhat equally distributed to member countries. This approach reduces the time needed to run the models as well as the computing resource required can be affordable. This is the basis of the establishment of the Southeast Regional Climate Downscaling (SEACLID) Project. SEACLID is the first project of regional climate downscaling in the Southeast Asia region that involves various countries where full cooperation and task-sharing basis are practiced. Prior to the establishment of SEACLID, the Southeast Asia region was included in CORDEX East Asia's domain. However, there was no single country in the Southeast Asia region directly involved in CORDEX East Asia.

 

Photo: SEARCI's first workshop, VNU Hanoi University of Science, 2-3 August 2012

 

The SEACLID project is a bottom-up initiative by the scientists from within the Southeast Asia region under the Southeast Asia Regional Climate Initiative (SEARCI), a newly regional collaborative platform in climate related issues which was established during a workshop hosted by the VNU Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam, 2-3 August 2012. Scientists from five countries including Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand attended this workshop. Prof. Dr. FredolinTangang of the National University of Malaysia was elected as the leader of this initiative. During this workshop, SEACLID project was conceptualized and subsequently a proposal was developed and submitted to the Asian Pacific Network (APN) for Global Research (APN) for possible funding. As to fulfill the APN requirement, two additional countries i.e. Cambodia and Lao PDR, were incorporated into the group.  In May 2013, SEACLID successfully secured an APN funding for its implementation [ARCP2013-17NMY-Tangang]. The total approved fund was USD135,000 for a duration of three years starting October 2013. The timeline implementation of SEACLID can be found here. Due to the similarity in concept and its implementation and the need for SEACLID to be streamlined to existing international initiative of regional climate downscaling, SEACLID was later integrated into CORDEX (thanks to the initiave of Dr Gassem R. Asrar, former Director of WCRP for) and became the latest member (14th) in WCRP CORDEX families. The project was subsequently renamed as SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia.

The main objectives of SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia includes: