Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 135, Issue 1–2, pp 623–631 | Cite as

Variations in droughts and wet spells and their influences in China: 1924–2013

  • Shuang Wu
  • Xiaodong YanEmail author
Original Paper


The Wetness Index was calculated using gridded monthly precipitation and potential evapotranspiration in China during 1924–2013. Variations of dry and wet periods in different areas and the impact of meteorological factors were analyzed. The results show the following: (1) Drought areas (W ≤ 0.5) and wet areas (W > 0.65) in China constituted 33–56% and 35–55%, respectively, of the total land area and there were no secular trends during 1924–2013. During this period, the areas of drought and wet were inversely proportional, but had different changes among seven regions. (2) Since 1954, the overall trend in China has changed from wet to dry. Drought areas increased significantly (p < 0.05) during 1954–1983. Drought areas increased (not significantly) during 1984–2013, but the rate of drought/wetness clearly decreased (tendency rates were between − 0.05 and 0.05/30 year, and accounted for 54.79% of China). (3) Dry/wet variation in North, Northeast, Central, and Southwest China played major roles. (4) Except in the North region, drought/wet conditions were affected by surface warming.


Funding information

This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570473).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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