Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 108, Issue 1–2, pp 207–216 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal characteristics of minimum temperature in winter in China during 1961–2010 from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis

  • Shuhong Wu
  • Aigang Lu
  • Longqing LiEmail author
Original Paper


Based on the surface 2 m monthly minimum temperature from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis dataset, the spatial and temporal characteristics of winter minimum temperature during 1961–2010 have been analyzed in China. Results showed that the minimum temperature in China has a significant increasing rate of 0.25° per decade calculated by the Mann–Kendall statistical test, which is consistent with the global warming trend. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis reveals that there are three main patterns that can explain more than 57.6% of the total variance of the winter minimum temperature. The EOF1, EOF2, and EOF3 account for 34.8%, 13.5%, and 13.5% of the total inter-annual variance, respectively. The EOF1, EOF2, and EOF3 patterns are synchronous in northern China, central China, and on the Tibetan Plateau. There exist a decrease trend in the corresponding time coefficients of EOF1 and EOF2 and an increase trend in that of EOF3 since the 1960s. Both the corresponding time coefficients of EOF1 and EOF2 have significant positive correlations with the 500 hPa geopotential heights of the Arctic region and negative correlations in the regions lower than 40°N, while a significant positive correlation is found between the corresponding time coefficients of EOF3 and 500 hPa geopotential heights in the low latitudes. This suggests that rapid warming occurs in northern China and on the Tibetan Plateau, while the weakest trend locates in southeast China. Thus, warming in winter is more pronounced at higher altitudes and latitudes. These patterns are tightly connected with the atmospheric circulation.


Tibetan Plateau Minimum Temperature Empirical Orthogonal Function Sichuan Basin East Asian Winter Monsoon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The work was supported by the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (41171061), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (NO.1240711), the joint Project for Universities in Beijing City supported by Beijing City and the Open Found of Key Laboratory of Cryosphere and Environment, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (No.SKLCS2010-09).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Natural ConservationBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Chemistry and Life SciencesWeinan Normal UniversityWeinanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.China Space Civil and Building Engineering Design and Research Institute (Group)BeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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