Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 12, pp 1946–1991 | Cite as

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Synoptic meteorology

  • Zhiyong MengEmail author
  • Fuqing Zhang
  • Dehai Luo
  • Zhemin Tan
  • Juan Fang
  • Jianhua Sun
  • Xueshun Shen
  • Yunji Zhang
  • Shuguang Wang
  • Wei Han
  • Kun Zhao
  • Lei Zhu
  • Yongyun Hu
  • Huiwen Xue
  • Yaping Ma
  • Lijuan Zhang
  • Ji Nie
  • Ruilin Zhou
  • Sa Li
  • Hongjun Liu
  • Yuning Zhu


Synoptic meteorology is a branch of meteorology that uses synoptic weather observations and charts for the diagnosis, study, and forecasting of weather. Weather refers to the specific state of the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface during a short period of time. The spatial distribution of meteorological elements in the atmosphere can be represented by a variety of transient weather phenomena, which are caused by weather systems of different spatial and temporal scales. Weather is closely related to people’s life, and its development and evolution have always been the focus of atmospheric scientific research and operation. The development of synoptic meteorology is closely related to the development of observation systems, dynamical theories and numerical models. In China, observation networks have been built since the early 1950s. Up to now, a comprehensive meteorological observation system based on ground, air and space has been established. In particular, the development of a new generation of dense radar networks, the development of the Fengyun satellite series and the implementation of a series of large field experiments have brought our understanding of weather from large-scale environment to thermal dynamics, cloud microphysical structure and evolution characteristics of meso and micro-scale weather systems. The development of observation has also promoted the development of theory, numerical model and simulation. In the early days, China mainly used foreign numerical models. Lately, China has developed numerical model systems with independent intellectual property rights. Based on the results of high-resolution numerical simulations, in-depth understanding of the initiation and evolution mechanism and predictability of weather at different scales has been obtained. Synoptic meteorology has gradually changed from an initially independent development to a multidisciplinary approach, and the interaction between weather and the change of climate and environment has become a hot and frontier topic in atmospheric science. This paper reviews the important scientific and technological achievements made in China over the past 70 years in the fields of synoptic meteorology based on the literatures in China and abroad, from six aspects respectively including atmospheric dynamics, synoptic-scale weather, typhoon and tropical weather, severe convective weather, numerical weather prediction and data assimilation, weather and climate, atmospheric physics and atmospheric environment.


Atmospheric sciences Synoptic meteorology Weather 70-year progresses 



Thank Tzung-May FU from Southern University of Science and Technology for her very helpful advice on section 7. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41425018, 41675045, 41875066, 41675108, 41875051), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFC1501601, 2017YFC1501904), the Special Program on the Monitoring, Warning and Prevention of Major Natural Disasters (Grant No. 2018YFC1506702).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhiyong Meng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fuqing Zhang
    • 2
  • Dehai Luo
    • 3
  • Zhemin Tan
    • 4
  • Juan Fang
    • 4
  • Jianhua Sun
    • 3
  • Xueshun Shen
    • 5
  • Yunji Zhang
    • 2
  • Shuguang Wang
    • 4
  • Wei Han
    • 5
  • Kun Zhao
    • 4
  • Lei Zhu
    • 6
  • Yongyun Hu
    • 1
  • Huiwen Xue
    • 1
  • Yaping Ma
    • 1
  • Lijuan Zhang
    • 1
  • Ji Nie
    • 1
  • Ruilin Zhou
    • 1
  • Sa Li
    • 1
  • Hongjun Liu
    • 1
  • Yuning Zhu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric ScienceThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.School of Atmospheric ScienceNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  5. 5.National Meteorological CenterBeijingChina
  6. 6.School of Atmospheric SciencesNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina

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