Analysis of climate variability in the Manas River Valley, North-Western China (1956–2006)
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- Zhang, F., Hanjra, M.A., Hua, F. et al. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change (2014) 19: 1091. doi:10.1007/s11027-013-9462-2
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This paper examines the short-run climate variability (change in the levels of temperature and precipitation) with a focus on the Manas River Valley, North-Western China, over the past 50 years (1956 to 2006) using data collected from four meteorological stations. The results show that the annual mean temperature had a positive trend, with temperature increasing at 0.4 °C per decade. Application of the Mann-Kendall test revealed that the overall positive trend became statistically significant at the p = 0.95 level only after 1988. The increase in temperature was most marked in winter and spring (0.8 and 0.7 °C per decade, respectively), absent in summer and very small in autumn (0.1 °C per decade). Concerning precipitation, our results indicate a negative but not significant trend for the period between 1956 and 1982, while annual total precipitation tended to increase thereafter and the increase was mainly during the crop growing-season. Concerning variability in temperature and precipitation, the characteristic time scales were identified by application of wavelet analysis. For temperature the quasi-decadal variations were found on time scales between approximately 5 and 15 years, with a peak in wavelet variance on a time scale of 9 years. For precipitation, the most striking features were a precipitation increase (6.7 mm per decade) during the crop growing season. Irregularities and abrupt changes in both temperature and precipitation were more common at scales less than 10 years, indicating the complexity and uncertainty in the short-period climate variability. Possible causes of climate variability in the Manas River Valley may include anthropogenic factors such as intensive human activity and the expansion of both farmland and irrigation. Global climate variability might also have some impacts on the local climate variability; analyses of local and regional climate trends can better inform local adaptation actions for global impacts.