, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 643-651
Date: 03 Aug 2010

Northward-shift of temperature zones in China’s eco-geographical study under future climate scenario

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Despite the well-documented effects of global climate change on terrestrial species’ ranges, eco-geographical regions as the regional scale of ecosystems have been poorly studied especially in China with diverse climate and ecosystems. Here we analyse the shift of temperature zones in eco-geographical study over China using projected future climate scenario. Projected climate data with high resolution during 1961–2080 were simulated using regional climate model of PRECIS. The number of days with mean daily temperature above 10°C and the mean temperature of January are usually regarded as the principal criteria to indicate temperature zones, which are sensitive to climate change. Shifts due to future climate change were calculated by comparing the latitude of grid cells for the future borderline of one temperature zone with that for baseline period (1961–1990). Results indicated that the ranges of Tropical, Subtropical, Warm Temperate and Plateau Temperate Zones would be enlarged and the ranges of Cold Temperate, Temperate and Plateau Sub-cold Zones would be reduced. Cold Temperate Zone would probably disappear at late this century. North borderlines of temperature zones would shift northward under projected future climate change, especially in East China. Farthest shifts of the north boundaries of Plateau Temperate, Subtropical and Warm Temperate Zones would be 3.1°, 5.3° and 6.6° latitude respectively. Moreover, northward shift would be more notably in northern China as future temperature increased.

Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 40771016; National Scientific and Technical Supporting Programs during the 11th Five-Year Plan of China, No.2007BAC03A02
Author: Wu Shaohong (1961–), Ph.D and Professor, specialized in integrated physical geography and climate change.