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Trends of Extreme Precipitation in Eastern China and Their Possible Causes


doi: 10.1007/s00376-015- 5002-1

  • Significant increases of heavy precipitation and decreases of light precipitation have been reported over widespread regions of the globe. Global warming and effects of anthropogenic aerosols have both been proposed as possible causes of these changes. We examine data from urban and rural meteorological stations in eastern China (1955-2011) and compare them with Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) data (1979-2007) and reanalysis data in various latitude zones to study changes in precipitation extremes. Significant decreases in light precipitation and increases in heavy precipitation are found at both rural and urban stations, as well as low latitudes over the ocean, while total precipitation shows little change. Characteristics of these changes and changes in the equatorial zone and other latitudes suggest that global warming rather than aerosol effects is the primary cause of the changes. In eastern China, increases of annual total dry days (28 days) and ≥10 consecutive dry days (36%) are due to the decrease in light precipitation days, thereby establishing a causal link among global warming, changes in precipitation extremes, and higher meteorological risk of floods and droughts. Further, results derived from the GPCP data and reanalysis data suggest that the causal link exists over widespread regions of the globe.
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Manuscript received: 02 January 2015
Manuscript revised: 09 March 2015
通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
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Trends of Extreme Precipitation in Eastern China and Their Possible Causes

  • 1. State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • 2. Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529
  • 3. Department of Atmospheric Science, NCU, Jhongli 32001
  • 4. National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC 20001, USA
  • 5. Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine 92697-3100, USA
  • 6. Institute of Urban Meteorology of China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100089

Abstract: Significant increases of heavy precipitation and decreases of light precipitation have been reported over widespread regions of the globe. Global warming and effects of anthropogenic aerosols have both been proposed as possible causes of these changes. We examine data from urban and rural meteorological stations in eastern China (1955-2011) and compare them with Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) data (1979-2007) and reanalysis data in various latitude zones to study changes in precipitation extremes. Significant decreases in light precipitation and increases in heavy precipitation are found at both rural and urban stations, as well as low latitudes over the ocean, while total precipitation shows little change. Characteristics of these changes and changes in the equatorial zone and other latitudes suggest that global warming rather than aerosol effects is the primary cause of the changes. In eastern China, increases of annual total dry days (28 days) and ≥10 consecutive dry days (36%) are due to the decrease in light precipitation days, thereby establishing a causal link among global warming, changes in precipitation extremes, and higher meteorological risk of floods and droughts. Further, results derived from the GPCP data and reanalysis data suggest that the causal link exists over widespread regions of the globe.

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