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Recent Progress in Studies of Climate Change in China


doi: 10.1007/s00376-012-1200-2

  • An overview of basic research on climate change in recent years in China is presented. In the past 100 years in China, average annual mean surface air temperature (SAT) has increased at a rate ranging from 0.03o(10 yr)-1 to 0.12o (10 yr)-1. This warming is more evident in northern China and is more significant in winter and spring. In the past 50 years in China, at least 27% of the average annual warming has been caused by urbanization. Overall, no significant trends have been detected in annual and/or summer precipitation in China on a whole for the past 100 years or 50 years. Both increases and decreases in frequencies of major extreme climate events have been observed for the past 50 years. The frequencies of extreme temperature events have generally displayed a consistent pattern of change across the country, while the frequencies of extreme precipitation events have shown only regionally and seasonally significant trends. The frequency of tropical cyclone landfall decreased slightly, but the frequency of sand/dust storms decreased significantly. Proxy records indicate that the annual mean SAT in the past a few decades is the highest in the past 400--500 years in China, but it may not have exceeded the highest level of the Medieval Warm Period (1000--1300 AD). Proxy records also indicate that droughts and floods in eastern China have been characterized by continuously abnormal rainfall periods, with the frequencies of extreme droughts and floods in the 20th century most likely being near the average levels of the past 2000 years. The attribution studies suggest that increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere are likely to be a main factor for the observed surface warming nationwide. The Yangtze River and Huaihe River basins underwent a cooling trend in summer over the past 50 years, which might have been caused by increased aerosol concentrations and cloud cover. However, natural climate variability might have been a main driver for the mean and extreme precipitation variations observed over the past century. Climate models generally perform well in simulating the variations of annual mean SAT in China. They have also been used to project future changes in SAT under varied GHG emission scenarios. Large uncertainties have remained in these model-based projections, however, especially for the projected trends of regional precipitation and extreme climate events.
  • [1] DING Yihui, REN Guoyu, ZHAO Zongci, XU Ying, LUO Yong, LI Qiaoping, ZHANG Jin, 2007: Detection, Causes and Projection of Climate Change over China: An Overview of Recent Progress, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 24, 954-971.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-007-0954-4
    [2] YANG Shili, FENG Jinming, DONG Wenjie, CHOU Jieming, 2014: Analyses of Extreme Climate Events over China Based on CMIP5 Historical and Future Simulations, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 31, 1209-1220.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-014-3119-2
    [3] Jeong-Hyeong LEE, Byungsoo KIM, Keon-Tae SOHN, Won-Tae KOWN, Seung-Ki MIN, 2005: Climate Change Signal Analysis for Northeast Asian Surface Temperature, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 22, 159-171.  doi: 10.1007/BF02918506
    [4] GE Quansheng, WANG Shaowu, WEN Xinyu, Caiming SHEN, HAO Zhixin, 2007: Temperature and Precipitation Changes in China During the HoloceneTemperature and Precipitation Changes in China During the Holocene, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 24, 1024-1036.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-007-1024-7
    [5] ZHANG Lixia* and ZHOU Tianjun, , 2014: An Assessment of Improvements in Global Monsoon Precipitation Simulation in FGOALS-s2, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 31, 165-178.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-013-2164-6
    [6] LI Hongmei, FENG Lei, ZHOU Tianjun, 2011: Multi-model Projection of July--August Climate Extreme Changes over China under CO$_{2}$ Doubling. Part I: Precipitation, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 28, 433-447.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-010-0013-4
    [7] LI Hongmei, FENG Lei, ZHOU Tianjun, 2011: Multi-Model Projection of July--August Climate Extreme Changes over China under CO2 Doubling. Part II: Temperature, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 28, 448-463.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-010-0052-x
    [8] Athanassios A. ARGIRIOU, Zhen LI, Vasileios ARMAOS, Anna MAMARA, Yingling SHI, Zhongwei YAN, 2023: Homogenised Monthly and Daily Temperature and Precipitation Time Series in China and Greece since 1960, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 40, 1326-1336.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-022-2246-4
    [9] TIAN Di, GUO Yan*, DONG Wenjie, 2015: Future Changes and Uncertainties in Temperature and Precipitation over China Based on CMIP5 Models, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 32, 487-496.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-014-4102-7
    [10] WANG Shaowu, ZHU Jinhong, CAI Jingning, 2004: Interdecadal Variability of Temperature and Precipitation in China since 1880, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 21, 307-313.  doi: 10.1007/BF02915560
    [11] Xiaoling YANG, Botao ZHOU, Ying XU, Zhenyu HAN, 2021: CMIP6 Evaluation and Projection of Temperature and Precipitation over China, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 38, 817-830.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-021-0351-4
    [12] SONG Lianchun, A. J. CANNON, P. H. WHITFIELD, 2007: Changes in Seasonal Patterns of Temperature and Precipitation in China During 1971--2000, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 24, 459-473.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-007-0459-1
    [13] YANG Yang, REN Rongcai, Ming CAI, RAO Jian, 2015: Attributing Analysis on the Model Bias in Surface Temperature in the Climate System Model FGOALS-s2 through a Process-Based Decomposition Method, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 32, 457-469.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-014-4061-z
    [14] MA Jianzhong, GUO Xueliang, ZHAO Chunsheng, ZHANG Yijun, HU Zhijin, 2007: Recent Progress in Cloud Physics Research in China, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 24, 1121-1137.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-007-1121-7
    [15] ZHOU Mengzi, WANG Huijun, 2015: Potential Impact of Future Climate Change on Crop Yield in Northeastern China, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 32, 889-897.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-014-4161-9
    [16] HAN Zuoqiang, YAN Zhongwei*, LI Zhen, LIU Weidong, and WANG Yingchun, 2014: Impact of Urbanization on Low-Temperature Precipitation in Beijing during 19602008, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 31, 48-56.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-013-2211-3
    [17] Yin ZHAO, Tianjun ZHOU, Wenxia ZHANG, Jian LI, 2022: Change in Precipitation over the Tibetan Plateau Projected by Weighted CMIP6 Models, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 39, 1133-1150.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-022-1401-2
    [18] JIANG Dabang, 2008: Projected Potential Vegetation Change in China under the SRES A2 and B2 Scenarios, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 25, 126-138.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-008-0126-1
    [19] Deliang CHEN, Anders OMSTEDT, 2005: Climate-Induced Variability of Sea Level in Stockholm: Influence of Air Temperature and Atmospheric Circulation, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 22, 655-664.  doi: 10.1007/BF02918709
    [20] QIAN Weihong, DING Ting, HU Haoran, LIN Xiang, QIN Aimin, 2009: An Overview of Dry-wet Climate Variability among Monsoon-Westerly Regions and the Monsoon Northernmost Marginal Active Zone in China, ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 26, 630-641.  doi: 10.1007/s00376-009-8213-5

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Manuscript History

Manuscript received: 10 September 2012
Manuscript revised: 10 September 2012
通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
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    沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142

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Recent Progress in Studies of Climate Change in China

  • 1. Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081;Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081;Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081;Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101;Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081;Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081;Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081

Abstract: An overview of basic research on climate change in recent years in China is presented. In the past 100 years in China, average annual mean surface air temperature (SAT) has increased at a rate ranging from 0.03o(10 yr)-1 to 0.12o (10 yr)-1. This warming is more evident in northern China and is more significant in winter and spring. In the past 50 years in China, at least 27% of the average annual warming has been caused by urbanization. Overall, no significant trends have been detected in annual and/or summer precipitation in China on a whole for the past 100 years or 50 years. Both increases and decreases in frequencies of major extreme climate events have been observed for the past 50 years. The frequencies of extreme temperature events have generally displayed a consistent pattern of change across the country, while the frequencies of extreme precipitation events have shown only regionally and seasonally significant trends. The frequency of tropical cyclone landfall decreased slightly, but the frequency of sand/dust storms decreased significantly. Proxy records indicate that the annual mean SAT in the past a few decades is the highest in the past 400--500 years in China, but it may not have exceeded the highest level of the Medieval Warm Period (1000--1300 AD). Proxy records also indicate that droughts and floods in eastern China have been characterized by continuously abnormal rainfall periods, with the frequencies of extreme droughts and floods in the 20th century most likely being near the average levels of the past 2000 years. The attribution studies suggest that increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere are likely to be a main factor for the observed surface warming nationwide. The Yangtze River and Huaihe River basins underwent a cooling trend in summer over the past 50 years, which might have been caused by increased aerosol concentrations and cloud cover. However, natural climate variability might have been a main driver for the mean and extreme precipitation variations observed over the past century. Climate models generally perform well in simulating the variations of annual mean SAT in China. They have also been used to project future changes in SAT under varied GHG emission scenarios. Large uncertainties have remained in these model-based projections, however, especially for the projected trends of regional precipitation and extreme climate events.

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