Spatio-temporal variation and abrupt changes for major climate variables in the Taihu Basin, China

  • Liu Liu
  • Zong-Xue XuEmail author
  • Jun-Xiong Huang
Original Paper


Long-term trend and abrupt changes of major climate variables in the Taihu Basin were investigated based on the mean, maximum and minimum air temperature, diurnal temperature range (DTR), precipitation, relative humidity and sunshine duration at six meteorological stations from 1954 to 2006. Results showed that the long-term trend for annual precipitation was not statistically significant during the past 53 years, but a wetter tendency was detected and the increasing centre for annual precipitation was located in the southeast of the study area. Mean air temperature has increased by 1.43°C, similar trends were also identified for maximum and minimum air temperature, which have increased by 1.06 and 1.54°C, respectively, while DTR exhibited a slight decreasing trend with a rate of about −0.09°C/(10 year). The annual mean relative humidity and sunshine duration exhibited a decreasing trend, with Kendall slope values of −0.99%/10 year and −7.797 h/10 year, respectively. Examination of long-range dependence showed that all climate variables exhibited strong persistence at annual scale except minimum air temperature. Detection of abrupt changes using nonparametric Mann–Kendall and Pettitt methods showed different results. Abrupt changes occurred in the 1980s and 2000s for annual precipitation using the nonparametric Mann–Kendall method, while no abrupt changes were detected using the Pettitt method. Abrupt changes of temperature and relative humidity took place in the early 1990s using the nonparametric Mann–Kendall method, which occurred in the late and mid 1980s using the Pettitt method, while abrupt changes of sunshine duration and DTR detected by two methods occurred in the similar period. The result will be helpful for local flood control and drought relief in urban planning and construction under future global climate change.


Climate change Trend Abrupt change Precipitation Air temperature Taihu 



This study is jointly supported by the NSFC project (National Natural Science Foundation of China) (Grant No. 50979005), National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (2010CB428402), Ministry of Science and Technology, China, and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2009SAP-5). Great thanks should be extended to two reviewers and to Prof. George Christakos, the editor-in-chief, for their crucial comments which greatly improved the quality of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, Ministry of Education, College of Water SciencesBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingP.R. China
  2. 2.Beijing Hydraulic Research InstituteBeijingChina

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