Testing CORDEX GCMs for Projecting Rainfall in Amhara, Ethiopia

  • Antensay Mekoya Ethiopian Forestry Development
  • Moges Molla Ethiopian Forestry Development
Keywords: Climate Change Modelling, Model Bias Correction, Rainfall Projection, Model Validation
Share Article:


Five CORDEX Global Circulation Models (GCMs): ICHEC-EC-EARTH, MIROC5, HadGEM2-ES, MPI-ESM-LR, and NorESM1-M were tested and validated for projecting rainfall in the Amhara regional state of Ethiopia. The GCMs were evaluated in terms of their performance during the historical period 1981-2020 and of the near-term, mid-term, and long-term future periods in three Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios, RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5, across 71 grid points. Monthly observed rainfall data was used to compare the GCMs' performance and correct their biases using three non-parametric quartile mapping methods: robust empirical quartiles, empirical quartiles, and smoothing splines. The results show that HadGEM2-ES and MPI-ESM-LR had the best performance in the study area. The test and validation results for these two GCMs have come up with r = 0.8, NSE = 0.5-0.6, and RMSE = 64-70 mm/month. As there was a large discrepancy in historical and projected CORDEX rainfall data, bias correction was necessary, and the robust empirical quartiles method was found the best for the Amhara region. Compared to the historical, there will be a decrease in the monthly rainfall amount for the months of March, May, June, July, and October and an increase for the rest in all projected scenarios. The result concluded that using an ensemble of HadGEM2-ES & MPI-ESM-LR GCMs would better simulate the rainfall in the Amhara region


Download data is not yet available.


Abbass, K., Qasim, M. Z., Song, H., Murshed, M., Mahmood, H., & Younis, I. (2022). A review of the global climate change impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 29(28), 42539–42559. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-022-19718-6

African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC). (2018). Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Final Report 17 December 2015 – 30 June 2018 RAF-14/0079 (Issue June).

African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) Policy Brief 6. (2013). Climate Change and Agriculture in Africa: Challenges and Promises. In ClimDev-Africa (https://www.climdev-africa.org/). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849770767

Akinsanola, A. A., Ogunjobi, K. O., Gbode, I. E., & Ajayi, V. O. (2015). Assessing the Capabilities of Three Regional Climate Models over CORDEX Africa in Simulating West African Summer Monsoon Precipitation. Advances in Meteorology, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/935431

Alaminie, A. A., Tilahun, S. A., Legesse, S. A., Zimale, F. A., Tarkegn, G. B., & Jury, M. R. (2021). Evaluation of past and future climate trends under CMIP6 scenarios for the UBNB (Abay), Ethiopia. Water (Switzerland), 13(15). https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152110

Alemayehu, A., & Bewket, W. (2017). Smallholder farmers’ coping and adaptation strategies to climate change and variability in the central highlands of Ethiopia. Local Environment, 22(7), 825–839. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2017.1290058

Ayalew, D., Tesfaye, K., Mamo, G., Yitaferu, B., & Bayu, W. (2012). Outlook of future climate in northwestern Ethiopia. Agricultural Sciences, 03(04), 608–624. https://doi.org/10.4236/as.2012.34074

Ayalew, D. W., Asefa, T., Moges, M. A., & Leyew, S. M. (2022). Evaluating the potential impact of climate change on the hydrology of Ribb catchment, Lake Tana Basin, Ethiopia. Journal of Water and Climate Change, 13(1), 190–205. https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2021.049

Bekele-Biratu, E., Thiaw, W. M., & Korecha, D. (2018). Sub-seasonal variability of the Belg rains in Ethiopia. International Journal of Climatology, 38(7), 2940–2953. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.5474

Belete Berhanu, Yilma Seleshi, S. S. D. and A. M. M. (2016). Bias correction and characterization of climate forecast system re‐analysis.pdf. Royal Meteorological Society, 23, 230–243. https://doi.org/DOI: 10.1002/met.1549

Berhanu, B., Seleshi, Y., Demisse, S. S., & Melesse, A. M. (2016). Bias correction and characterization of climate forecast system re-analysis daily precipitation in Ethiopia using fuzzy overlay. 243(March), 230–243. https://doi.org/10.1002/met.1549

Birara, H., Pandey, R. P., & Mishra, S. K. (2018). Trend and variability analysis of rainfall and temperature in the tana basin region, Ethiopia. Journal of Water and Climate Change, 9(3), 555–569. https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2018.080

Cheung, W. H., Senay, G. B., & Singh, A. (2008). Trends and spatial distribution of annual and seasonal rainfall in Ethiopia. International Journal of Climatology, 28(13), 1723–1734. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.1623

Clarke, B., Otto, F., Stuart-Smith, R., & Harrington, L. (2022). Extreme weather impacts of climate change: an attribution perspective. Environmental Research: Climate, 1(1), 012001. https://doi.org/10.1088/2752-5295/ac6e7d

CSA. (2007). The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Population Census Commission. 1–125.

Deepthi, B., & Sivakumar, B. (2021). Performance assessment of general circulation models : application of compromise programming method and global performance indicator technique Performance assessment of general circulation models. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00477-021-02124-8

Demaeyer, J., Penny, S. G., & Vannitsem, S. (2022). Identifying Efficient Ensemble Perturbations for Initializing Subseasonal-To-Seasonal Prediction. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 14(5). https://doi.org/10.1029/2021MS002828

Demissie, T. A., & Sime, C. H. (2021). Assessment of the performance of CORDEX regional climate models in simulating rainfall and air temperature over southwest Ethiopia. Heliyon, 7(8), e07791. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e07791

Diro, G. T., Toniazzo, T., & Shaffrey, L. (2011). African Climate and Climate Change. 43(February). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-3842-5

Dosio, A., Lennard, C., & Spinoni, J. (2022). Projections of indices of daily temperature and precipitation based on bias-adjusted CORDEX-Africa regional climate model simulations. Climatic Change, 170(1–2), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-022-03307-0

EPCC. (2015). Ethiopian panel on Climate Change (2015), First Assessment Report, Working Group I Report on climate change on Ethiopia. In Physical Science Basis (Issue August). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282878295_Ethiopian_panel_on_Climate_Change_2015_First_Assessment_Report_Working_Group_I_Physical_Science_Basis_Published_by_the_Ethiopian_Academy_of_Sciences

Geleta, T. D., Dadi, D. K., Funk, C., Garedew, W., Eyelade, D., & Worku, A. (2022). Downscaled Climate Change Projections in Urban Centers of Southwest Ethiopia Using CORDEX Africa Simulations. Climate, 10(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/cli10100158

Gisila, Tesfaye; Seid, Jemal; Shemelis, Andualem; Gebremariam, Temesgen; Jember, Gebru; Amsalu, A. (2015). Ethiopian panel on Climate Change, First Assessment Report, - Working Group II Water and Energy, Published by the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (S. Mengistu, Gizaw; Mengitou (ed.); Issue August).

Grose, M. R., Narsey, S., Trancoso, R., Mackallah, C., Delage, F., Dowdy, A., Di Virgilio, G., Watterson, I., Dobrohotoff, P., Rashid, H. A., Rauniyar, S., Henley, B., Thatcher, M., Syktus, J., Abramowitz, G., Evans, J. P., Su, C. H., & Takbash, A. (2023). A CMIP6-based multi-model downscaling ensemble to underpin climate change services in Australia. Climate Services, 30(August 2022). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cliser.2023.100368

Hailesilassie, W. T., Goel, N. K., Ayenew, T., & Tekleab, S. (2022). Future precipitation changes in the Central Ethiopian Main Rift under CMIP5 GCMs. Journal of Water and Climate Change, 13(4), 1830–1841. https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2022.440

Harris, I., Osborn, T. J., Jones, P., & Lister, D. (2020). Version 4 of the CRU TS monthly high-resolution gridded multivariate climate dataset. Scientific Data, 7(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-0453-3

Herger, N., Abramowitz, G., Knutti, R., Angélil, O., Lehmann, K., & Sanderson, B. M. (2018). Selecting a climate model subset to optimise key ensemble properties. Earth System Dynamics, 9(1), 135–151. https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-135-2018

IPCC. (2019). Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report. Climate Change and Land: An IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems, 1–864. https://www.ipcc.ch/srccl/

Kassahun, M., Ture, K., & Nedaw, D. (2023). Evaluation of CORDEX Africa regional climate models performance in simulating climatology of Zarima sub ‑ basin northwestern Ethiopia. Environmental Systems Research. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40068-023-00325-4

Kebede, A., & A., M. B. D. and S. (2013). Earth Science & Climatic Change An Assessment of Temperature and Precipitation Change Projections using a Regional and a Global Climate Model for the Baro-Akobo Basin ,. Earth Science & Climate Change, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.4172/2157-7617.1000133

Lee, J.-Y., Marotzke, J., Bala, G., Cao, L., Corti, S., Dunne, J., Engelbrecht, F., Fischer, E., Fyfe, J., Jones, C., Maycock, A., Mutemi, J., Ndiaye, O., Panickal, S., & Zhou:, T. (2021). Future global climate: scenario-based projections and near-term information. In Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009157896.006.553

Lemi, T. (2019). Effects of Climate Change Variability on Agricultural Productivity. International Journal of Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.19080/ijesnr.2019.17.555953

Li, J., Huo, R., Chen, H., Zhao, Y., & Zhao, T. (2021). Comparative Assessment and Future Prediction Using CMIP6 and CMIP5 for Annual Precipitation and Extreme Precipitation Simulation. Frontiers in Earth Science, 9(June), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2021.687976

Martel, J. L., Brissette, F., Troin, M., Arsenault, R., Chen, J., Su, T., & Lucas-Picher, P. (2022). CMIP5 and CMIP6 Model Projection Comparison for Hydrological Impacts Over North America. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(15). https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GL098364

Mera, G. A. (2018). Drought and its impacts in Ethiopia. Weather and Climate Extremes, 22(June), 24–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wace.2018.10.002

Michael, et al. (2009). Making forests fit for climate change. In intErnational Union oF ForEst rEsEarch orGanizations. https://www.fornis.net/sites/default/files/documents/african-policy-brief-en_0.pdf

Moriasi, D. N., Arnold, G. J., Van Liew, M. W., Bingner, R.L., Harmel, R. D., and Veith, T. L. (2007). “Model Evaluation Guidelines for Systematic Quantification of Accuracy in Watershed Simulation.” American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 50(3), 885−900.

Mutayoba, E., & Kashaigili, J. J. (2017). Evaluation for the Performance of the CORDEX Regional Climate Models in Simulating Rainfall Characteristics over Mbarali River Catchment in the Rufiji Basin, Tanzania. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 05(04), 139–151. https://doi.org/10.4236/gep.2017.54011

Navarro-racines, C., Tarapues, J., Thornton, P., Jarvis, A., & Ra, J. (2020). CMIP5 projections for climate change impact assessments. 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-019-0343-8

NMA. (2007). Climate change national adaptation programme of action (NAPA) of ethiopia Editor: Abebe Tadege This. Water (Switzerland), 2(June), 73pp. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cliser.2019.100134%0Ahttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.05.169%0Ahttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311932.2015.1134380%0Apapers2://publication/uuid/A172B730-6A69-45C8-8D12-88869ED1E5B8

Ogega, O. M., & Gyampoh, B. A. (2020). Intraseasonal Precipitation Variability over West Scenarios : Results from CORDEX RCMs. Climate, 8(143), 1–20.

Ogega, O. M., Gyampoh, B. A., & Mistry, M. N. (2020). Intraseasonal precipitation variability over West Africa under 1.5 °c and 2.0 °c global warming scenarios: Results from cordex RCMS. Climate, 8(12), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8120143

Seleshi, Y., & Zanke, U. (2004). Recent changes in rainfall and rainy days in Ethiopia. International Journal of Climatology, 24(8), 973–983. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.1052

Shiferaw, A. S., Ahmed, J. S., Gebremariam, T., & Amsalu, A. (2015). Ethiopian panel on Climate Change (2015), First Assessment Report, Working Group I Physical Science Basis, Published by the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (Issue October).

Sisay, K., Vienna, L. S., Thurnher, C., Vienna, L. S., Hasenauer, H., & Vienna, L. S. (2016). Daily climate data for the Amhara region in Northwestern. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.4880

Spracklen, D. V., Baker, J. C. A., Garcia-Carreras, L., & Marsham, J. H. (2018). The effects of tropical vegetation on rainfall. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 43(July), 193–218. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102017-030136

Tamoffo, A. T., Nikulin, G., Vondou, D. A., Dosio, A., Nouayou, R., Wu, M., & Igri, P. M. (2021). Process ‑ based assessment of the impact of reduced turbulent mixing on Congo Basin precipitation in the RCA4 Regional Climate Model. 0123456789, 1951–1965.

Tang, C., Morel, B., Wild, M., Pohl, B., Abiodun, B., & Bessafi, M. (2019). Numerical simulation of surface solar radiation over Southern Africa. Part 1: Evaluation of regional and global climate models. Climate Dynamics, 52(1–2), 457–477. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-018-4143-1

UNECA. (2011). Climate Science , Information , and Services in Africa : Status , Gaps and Policy Implications United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. 1–4.

UNICEF. (2018). Budget Brief Amhara Regional State 2007/08 – 2015/16. Unicef, 1–16.

United Nations OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS (UNOCHA). (2018). Annual Report. December, 1–168.

Van Vooren, S., Van Schaeybroeck, B., Nyssen, J., Van Ginderachter, M., & Termonia, P. (2019). Evaluation of CORDEX rainfall in northwest Ethiopia: Sensitivity to the model representation of the orography. International Journal of Climatology, 39(5), 2569–2586. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.5971

31 January, 2024
How to Cite
Mekoya, A., & Molla, M. (2024). Testing CORDEX GCMs for Projecting Rainfall in Amhara, Ethiopia. African Journal of Climate Change and Resource Sustainability, 3(1), 24-48. https://doi.org/10.37284/ajccrs.3.1.1730