Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 115, Issue 1–2, pp 167–175 | Cite as

Temporal change of climate zones in China in the context of climate warming

  • Xianliang Zhang
  • Xiaodong YanEmail author
Original Paper


In China, ten climate types were classified using the K-means cluster analysis based on monthly temperature and precipitation data from 753 national meteorological stations for the period 1966–2005. However, 11 mountain climate stations, which are located in southeast China, were classified as one type due to their distinct climate characteristic that differentiated them from other stations. This type could not represent the climate characteristic of this region because all climate stations in this type were located at high-elevation mountains. Thus, it was eliminated when defining climate zones based on climate types. Therefore, nine climate zones were defined in China. Moreover, the temporal change of climate zones was detected in 20-year intervals (1966–1985 and 1986–2005). Although 48 stations changed their climate zones between these two periods, the whole pattern of all climate zones remained stable in these two periods. However, the boundaries between some climate zones changed slightly due to inconsistent variation of regional temperature and precipitation. The most obvious change was the eastern movement of the boundary between an arid temperate zone and a sub-humid temperate zone. There was also a northern shift of the boundary between a tropic zone and a southern subtropic zone. All these changes were probably connected with the climate change in recent 40 years.


Climate Regionalization Climate Variable Climate Zone Climate Type Climate Classification 
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 funded by the National Key Scientific Project of China (2010CB950903, 2012CB95570000).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource EcologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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