Climatic Change

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 203-218

First online:

Changes of Climate Extremes in China

  • Panmao ZhaiAffiliated withNational Climate Center
  • , Anjian SunAffiliated withNational Climate Center
  • , Fumin RenAffiliated withNational Climate Center
  • , Xiaonin LiuAffiliated withNational Meteorological Center
  • , Bo GaoAffiliated withNational Climate Center
  • , Qiang ZhangAffiliated withNational Climate Center

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Changes in China's temperature and precipitation extremes have been studied by using observational data after 1950. The results reveal that mean minimum temperature has increased significantly in China during the past 40 years, especially in the winter in northern China. Meanwhile, nation-wide cold wave activity has weakened and the frequency of cold days in northern China has been reduced significantly. Mean maximum temperatures display no statistically significant trend for China as a whole. However, decreasing summer mean maximum temperatures are obvious in eastern China, where the number of hot days has been reduced. Seasonal 1-day extreme maximum temperatures mainly reflect decreasing trends, while seasonal 1-day extreme minimum temperatures are increasing.

A statistically significant reduction of much above normal rain days in China has been detected. Contrarily, an increasing trend was detected in much above normal of precipitation intensity (precipitation/number of precipitation days) during the past 45 years.