Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 32, Issue 8, pp 1027–1037 | Cite as

Trends of extreme precipitation in eastern China and their possible causes

  • Run Liu
  • Shaw Chen Liu
  • Ralph J. Cicerone
  • Chein-Jung Shiu
  • Jun Li
  • Jingli Wang
  • Yuanhang Zhang


Significant increases of heavy precipitation and decreases of light precipitation have been reported over widespread regions of the globe. Global warming and effects of anthropogenic aerosols have both been proposed as possible causes of these changes. We examine data from urban and rural meteorological stations in eastern China (1955–2011) and compare them with Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) data (1979–2007) and reanalysis data in various latitude zones to study changes in precipitation extremes. Significant decreases in light precipitation and increases in heavy precipitation are found at both rural and urban stations, as well as low latitudes over the ocean, while total precipitation shows little change. Characteristics of these changes and changes in the equatorial zone and other latitudes suggest that global warming rather than aerosol effects is the primary cause of the changes. In eastern China, increases of annual total dry days (28 days) and ≥10 consecutive dry days (36%) are due to the decrease in light precipitation days, thereby establishing a causal link among global warming, changes in precipitation extremes, and higher meteorological risk of floods and droughts. Further, results derived from the GPCP data and reanalysis data suggest that the causal link exists over widespread regions of the globe.

Key words

extreme precipitation global warming aerosols meteorological risk of floods and droughts 


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Copyright information

© Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Run Liu
    • 1
  • Shaw Chen Liu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ralph J. Cicerone
    • 4
    • 5
  • Chein-Jung Shiu
    • 2
  • Jun Li
    • 1
  • Jingli Wang
    • 6
  • Yuanhang Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Research Center for Environmental ChangesAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Atmospheric Science, NCUJhongliTaiwan
  4. 4.National Academy of SciencesWashington DCUSA
  5. 5.Earth System ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  6. 6.Institute of Urban Meteorology of China Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina

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