Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 8, pp 1207–1215 | Cite as

Sensitivity of surface air temperature change to land use/cover types in China

  • XuChao Yang
  • YiLi Zhang
  • LinShan Liu
  • Wei Zhang
  • MingJun Ding
  • ZhaoFeng Wang


Using CRU high resolution grid observational temperature and ERA40 reanalysis surface air temperature data during 1960–1999, we investigated the sensitivity of surface air temperature change to land use/cover types in China by subtracting the reanalysis from the observed surface air temperature (observation minus reanalysis, OMR). The results show that there is a stable and systemic impact of land use/cover types on surface air temperature. The surface warming of each land use/cover type reacted differently to global warming. The OMR trends of unused land (⩾0.17 °C/decade), mainly comprised by sandy land, Gobi and bare rock gravel land, are obviously larger than those of the other land use/cover types. The OMR over grassland, farmland and construction land shows a moderate decadal warmingabout 0.12°C/decade, 0.10°C/decade, 0.12°C/decade, respectively. Woodland areas do not show a significant warming trend (0.06°C/decade). The overall assessment indicates that the surface warming is larger for areas that are barren and anthropogenically developed. The better the vegetation cover, the smaller the OMR warming trend. Responses of surface air temperature to land use/cover types with similar physical and chemical properties and biological processes have no significant difference. The surface air temperature would not react significantly until the intensity of land cover changes reach a certain degree. Within the same land use/cover type, areas in eastern China with intensive human activities exhibit larger warming trend. The results provide observational evidence for modeling research on the impact of land use/cover change on regional climate. Thus, projecting further surface climate of China in regional scale should not only take greenhouse gas increase into account, but also consider the impact of land use/cover types and land cover change.


surface air temperature land use/cover types OMR method observations reanalysis 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • XuChao Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • YiLi Zhang
    • 1
  • LinShan Liu
    • 1
  • Wei Zhang
    • 3
  • MingJun Ding
    • 1
  • ZhaoFeng Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Meteorological SciencesMeteorological Bureau of Zhejiang ProvinceHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Shanghai Institute of Geological SurveyShanghaiChina

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