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Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 57, Issue 2–3, pp 276–286 | Cite as

Climatic changes in the Twenty-four Solar Terms during 1960–2008

  • Cheng Qian
  • ZhongWei YanEmail author
  • CongBin Fu
Open Access
Article Atmospheric Science

Abstract

The temperature thresholds and timings of the 24 climatic Solar Terms in China are determined from a homogenized dataset of the surface air temperature recorded at 549 meteorological stations for the period 1960–2008 employing the ensemble empirical mode decomposition method. Changes in the mean temperature and timing of the climatic solar terms are illustrated. The results show that in terms of the mean situation over China, the number of cold days such as those of Slight Cold and Great Cold has decreased, especially by 56.8% for Great Cold in the last 10 years (1998–2007) compared with in the 1960s. The number of hot days like those of Great Heat has increased by 81.4% in the last 10 years compared with in the 1960s. The timings of the climatic Solar Terms during the warming period (around spring) in the seasonal cycle have advanced significantly by more than 6 d, especially by 15 d for Rain Water, while those during the cooling period (around autumn) have delayed significantly by 5–6 d. These characteristics are mainly due to a warming shift of the whole seasonal cycle under global warming. However, the warming shift affects the different Solar Terms to various extents, more prominently in the spring than in the autumn. The warming tendencies for Rain Water, the Beginning of Spring, and the Waking of Insects are the largest, 2.43°C, 2.37°C, and 2.21°C, respectively, for the period 1961–2007 in China as a whole. Four particular phenology-related climatic Solar Terms, namely the Waking of Insects, Pure Brightness, Grain Full, and Grain in Ear, are found to have advanced almost everywhere. In semi-arid zones in northern China, advances of the timings of these four climatic Solar Terms are significant, 12–16, 4–8, 4–8, and 8–12 d, respectively, for the period 1961–2007. These quantitative results provide a scientific base for climate change adaptation, especially in terms of agricultural planning and energy-saving management throughout a year.

Keywords

Twenty-four Solar Terms climate change ensemble empirical mode decomposition human adaptation 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Atmospheric SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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