, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 355-364

The statistical significance test of regional climate change caused by land use and land cover variation in West China

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Abstract

The West Development Policy being implemented in China is causing significant land use and land cover (LULC) changes in West China. With the up-to-date satellite database of the Global Land Cover Characteristics Database (GLCCD) that characterizes the lower boundary conditions, the regional climate model RIEMS-TEA is used to simulate possible impacts of the significant LULC variation. The model was run for five continuous three-month periods from 1 June to 1 September of 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997, and the results of the five groups are examined by means of a student l-test to identify the statistical significance of regional climate variation. The main results are: (1) The regional climate is affected by the LULC variation because the equilibrium of water and heat transfer in the air-vegetation interface is changed. (2) The integrated impact of the LULC variation on regional climate is not only limited to West China where the LULC varies, but also to some areas in the model domain where the LULC does not vary at all. (3) The East Asian monsoon system and its vertical structure are adjusted by the large scale LULC variation in western China, where the consequences are the enhancement of the westward water vapor transfer from the east oast and the relevant increase of wet-hydrostatic energy in the middle-upper atmospheric layers. (4) The ecological engineering in West China affects significantly the regional climate in Northwest China, North China and the middle-lower reaches of the Yangtze River; there are obvious effects in South, Northeast, and Southwest China, but minor effects in Tibet.