, Volume 77, Issue 3-4, pp 449-462,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Jul 2006

Spring Phenophases in Recent Decades Over Eastern China and Its Possible Link to Climate Changes


In light of the observed climate changes in recent decades over eastern China, we studied the changes in spring phenophases of woody plants observed at 16-stations during 1963–1996, and explored the possible link between the spring phenophases changes and climate changes before the phenophase onset. It is found that, in the region north of 33N (including Northeast, North China and the lower reaches of the Huaihe River), the phenophase advanced 1.1–4.3 days per decade for early spring and 1.4–5.4 days per decade for late spring, but in the eastern part of the southwest China it was dealyed by 2.9–6.9 days per decade in early spring and 2.4–6.2 days per decade in late spring. One outstanding feature is identified in Guangzhou in south China, where significant advance of 7.5 days per decade in early spring and delay of 4.6 days per decade in late spring were detected. Statistically siginficant correlation was found between the changes of spring phenophase and the temperatures of one or several months before the phenophase onset. The relationship between the trend of phenophase change and temperature change was highly non-linear (more sensitivity to cooling than to warming) and reached an asymptote 0.5C per decade, which may have implication in the responses of the ecosystem in a future global warming scenario. In addition, we also examined the link between the spring phenophase, and length and mean temperature of the growing season, and the analyses suggested that they were highly correlated as well.