Understanding the regional hydrological response to varying CO2 concentration is critical for cost-benefit analysis of mitigation and adaptation polices in the near future. To characterize summer monsoon rainfall change in East Asia in a changing CO2 pathway, we used the Community Earth System Model (CESM) with 28 ensemble members in which the CO2 concentration increases at a rate of 1% per year until its quadrupling peak, i.e., 1468 ppm (ramp-up period), followed by a decrease of 1% per year until the present-day climate conditions, i.e., 367 ppm (ramp-down period). Although the CO2 concentration change is symmetric in time, the amount of summer rainfall anomaly in East Asia is increased 42% during a ramp-down period than that during a ramp-up period when the two periods of the same CO2 concentration are compared. This asymmetrical rainfall response is mainly due to an enhanced El Niño-like warming pattern as well as its associated increase in the sea surface temperature in the western North Pacific during a ramp-down period. These sea surface temperature patterns enhance the atmospheric teleconnections and the local meridional circulations around East Asia, resulting in more rainfall over East Asia during a ramp-down period. This result implies that the removal of CO2 does not guarantee the return of regional rainfall to the previous climate state with the same CO2 concentration.
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