Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 113, Issue 3–4, pp 561–572 | Cite as

Climate change affecting temperature and aridity zones: a case study in Eastern Inner Mongolia, China from 1960–2008

  • Jinwei DongEmail author
  • Jiyuan Liu
  • Geli Zhang
  • Jeffrey B. Basara
  • Scott Greene
  • Xiangming Xiao
Original Paper


Recent climate change is substantially affecting the spatial pattern of geographical zones, and the temporal and spatial inconsistency of climatic warming and drying patterns contributes to the complexity of the shifting of temperature and aridity zones. Eastern Inner Mongolia, China, located in the interface region of different biomes and ecogeographic zones, has experienced dramatic drying and warming over the past several decades. In this study, the annual accumulated temperature above 10 °C (AAT10) and the aridity index, two key indicators in geographical regionalization, are used to assess warming and drying processes and track the movements of temperature and aridity zones from 1960 to 2008. The results show a significant warming at the regional level from 1960 to 2008 with an AAT10 increase rate of 7.89 °C·d/year (p < 0.001) in Eastern Inner Mongolia, while the drying trend was not significant during this period. Spatial heterogeneity of warming and drying distributions was also evident. Analysis of warming and drying via piecewise regression revealed two separate, specific trends between the first 31 years (1960–1990) and the subsequent 18 years (1991–2008). Generally, mild warming and very slight wetting occurred prior to 1990, while after 1991 both warming and drying were significant and enhanced. Continuous warming drove a northward shift of temperature zones from the 1960s to 2000s, while aridity zones displayed enhanced temporal and spatial variability. Climate change effects on temperature and aridity zones imply that the patterns of cropping systems, macro-ecosystems, and human land use modes are potentially undergoing migration and modification due to climate change.


Aridity Zone Aridity Index Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Warm Temperate Zone Hinggan Mountain 
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.



This work was supported by the Chinese National Key Program for Developing Basic Science (no. 2010CB950900), the US NASA Land Cover and Land Use Change program (NNX09AC39G, NNX11AJ35G), and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR program (NSF-0919466). We thank Dr. Zhiping Zhao for his help in data processing of aridity index and thank Ms. Sage Sheldon for her valuable suggestions and comments on initial manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jinwei Dong
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jiyuan Liu
    • 2
  • Geli Zhang
    • 2
  • Jeffrey B. Basara
    • 3
  • Scott Greene
    • 4
  • Xiangming Xiao
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Plant Botany, Center for Spatial AnalysisUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Meteorology, Oklahoma Climatological SurveyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  4. 4.Department of GeographyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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