Climate Dynamics

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 463–476 | Cite as

Characteristics of anomalous precipitation events over eastern China during the past five centuries

  • Caiming ShenEmail author
  • Wei-Chyung Wang
  • Zhixin Hao
  • Wei Gong


Characteristics of anomalous precipitation events during the past five centuries in North China (NC) and the middle-lower Yangtze River Valley (MLYRV) were investigated using the data network of dryness/wetness index (DWI) over eastern China. The high occurrence frequency of anomalous precipitation events mainly occurred at periods of high solar forcing, active volcanic eruption, and large anthropogenic forcing (the twentieth century). Coherence and dipole were the two dominant modes in spatial patterns of anomalous precipitation events. Coherent floods dominated the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, whereas coherent droughts occurred frequently in the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. The dipole patterns of anomalous precipitation events were the most frequent in the twentieth century. NC experienced more floods in the cold periods than warm periods. Both NC and the MLYRV experienced far fewer droughts and more floods in the warm eighteenth century when natural climate forcing dominated, and more droughts in the twentieth century when anthropogenic forcing dominated. Coherent drought was the only spatial pattern of precipitation significantly associated with explosive low-latitude volcanic eruptions. The increased coherent droughts and dipole patterns in the twentieth century support the findings of previous modeling studies that the tropospheric aerosols and human-induced land cover changes play important roles in the changes of summer rainfall over eastern China.


Anomalous precipitation events Drought Flood Spatial pattern Eastern China 



This work is supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Office of Sciences, US Department of Energy (DOE). ZH is a visiting postdoctoral from the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resource Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences under the US DOE-PRC Ministry of Sciences and Technology joint agreement, “Climate Sciences”.

Supplementary material

382_2007_323_MOESM1_ESM.doc (26 kb)
(DOC 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caiming Shen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wei-Chyung Wang
    • 1
  • Zhixin Hao
    • 1
  • Wei Gong
    • 1
  1. 1.Atmospheric Sciences Research CenterState University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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