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Application of relative importance metrics for CMIP6 models selection in projecting basin-scale rainfall

Over Johor River basin, Malaysia

15 December 2023

Malaysian colleagues collecting rainfall data


  • Basin-scale future rainfall projection based on CMIP6 over JRB
  • ACCESS-ESM1–5 and CMCC-ESM2 ranked highest based on relative importance metrics.
  • Both increasing and decreasing rainfall was projected under different scenarios.
  • Higher rainfall projected in December, increasing risk of floods


The most recent set of General Circulation Models (GCMs) derived from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) was used in this work to analyse the spatiotemporal patterns of future rainfall distribution across the Johor River Basin (JRB) in Malaysia. A group of 23 GCMs were chosen for comparative assessment in simulating basin-scale rainfall based on daily rainfall from the historical period of the Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station Data (CHIRPS). The methodological novelty of this study lies in the application of relative importance metrics (RIM) to rank and select historical GCM simulations for reproducing rainfall at 109 CHIRPS grid points within the JRB. In order to choose the top GCMs, the rankings given by RIM were aggregated using the compromise programming index (CPI) and Jenks optimised classification (JOC).

It was found that ACCESS-ESM1–5 and CMCC-ESM2 were ranked the highest in most of the grid. The final GCM was then bias-corrected using the linear scaling method before being ensemble based on the Bayesian model averaging (BMA) technique. The spatiotemporal assessment of the ensemble model for the different months over the near-future period 2021–2060 and far-future period 2061–2100 was compared with those under Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), namely, SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3–7.0, and SSP5-8.5. Heterogeneous changes in rainfall were projected across the JRB, with both increasing and decreasing trends. In the near-future and far-future scenarios, higher rainfall was projected for December, indicating an elevated risk of flooding during the end of the North East monsoon (NEM). Conversely, August showed a decreasing trend in rainfall, implying an increasing risk of severe drought. The findings of this study provide valuable insights for effective water resource management and climate change adaptation in the region.

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