This study investigates the elevation dependency of the present-day climate and future climate change in temperature and precipitation over Korea. A dynamically downscaled fine-scale climate simulation (20 km) shows reasonable agreement with two types of observations maintained by the Korea Meteorological Administration. The model exactly captures the strong relationship between the elevation and local climatology as seen in observed temperature and precipitation patterns. The behavior of the elevation dependency shown by the present-day climate simulation is also appeared in the climate change signal. The warming amplification is highly correlated with elevation. The warming is more pronounced at higher elevations than at lower elevations during winter, and maximum warming occurs at minimum temperature, showing an asymmetric response between minimum and maximum temperature. A noticeable differential rate of winter warming in response to the elevation can be explained by the snow-albedo feedback. Precipitation and snow changes also show the relevant topographical modulation under global warming. This study clearly demonstrates the importance of a refined topography for improving the accuracy of the local climatology and suitably reflecting the altitudinal distribution.
2011 by Meteorological Society of Japan