Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 115, Issue 3–4, pp 685–691 | Cite as

Self-organized criticality of climate change

  • Zuhan LiuEmail author
  • Jianhua XuEmail author
  • Kai Shi
Original Paper


Self-organized criticality (SOC) of three climatic factors (average daily temperature, vapor pressure, and relative humidity) was studied by analyzing climate records from 1961 to 2011 in Yanqi County, northwest China. Firstly, we investigated the frequency-size distribution of three climatic factors and found that they were well approximated by power-law distribution, which suggested that climatic factor might be a manifestation of self-organized criticality. Furthermore, we introduced a new numerical sandpile model with decay coefficient to reveal inherent dynamic mechanism of climatic factor. Only changing the number value of decay coefficient of climatic factors, this model would give a good simulation of three climatic factors' statistical characteristics. This study showed that it was the self-organized criticality of the climate change that results in the temporal variation of climatic factors and the occurrence of large-scale climate change events triggered by SOC behavior of the minor climatic factors. So, we believed that SOC characteristics would have practical implications for climate prediction.


Climatic Factor Decay Coefficient Sandpile Model Avalanche Size Bosten Lake 
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 research is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program; no: 2010CB951003) and the Director Fund of the Key Lab of GIScience of the Education Ministry PRC.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Research Center for East–west Cooperation in ChinaEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.College of Biology and Environmental SciencesJishou UniversityJishouChina

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