Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 422–436

Changes of temperature and precipitation extremes in Hengduan Mountains, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in 1961–2008


DOI: 10.1007/s11769-012-0549-6

Cite this article as:
Ning, B., Yang, X. & Chang, L. Chin. Geogr. Sci. (2012) 22: 422. doi:10.1007/s11769-012-0549-6


Variations and trends in extreme climate events are more sensitive to climate change than the mean values, and so have received much attention. In this study, twelve indices of temperature extremes and 11 indices of precipitation extremes at 32 meteorological stations in Hengduan Mountains were examined for the period 1961–2008. The results reveal statistically significant increases in the temperature of the warmest and coldest nights and in the frequencies of extreme warm days and nights. Decreases of the diurnal temperature range and the numbers of frost days and ice days are statistically significant. Regional averages of growing season length also display the trends consistent and significant with warming. At a large proportion of the stations, patterns of temperature extremes are consistent with warming since 1961: warming trends in minimum temperature indices are greater than those relating to maximum temperature. As the center of the Shaluli Mountain, the warming magnitudes decrease from inner to outer. Changes in precipitation extremes is low: trends are difficult to detect against the larger inter-annual and decadal-scale variability of precipitation, and only the wet day precipitation and the regional trend in consecutive dry days are significant at the 0.05 level. It can be concluded that the variation of extreme precipitation events is not obvious in the Hengduan Mountains, however, the regional trends generally decrease from the south to the north. Overall, the spatial distribution of temporal changes of all extreme climate indices in the Hengduan Mountains illustrated here reflects the climatic complexity in mountainous regions.


precipitationtemperatureclimate extremesglobal warmingHengduan Mountains, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Lanzhou Branch of the National Science LibraryChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Cold and Arid Region Environment and Engineering Research Institute, Gansu Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering Research CenterChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina