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


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.


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


  1. 1.
    IPCC. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 996Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Root T L. Effects of global climate change on North American birds and their communities. In: Biotic Interactions and Global Change. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 1993Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Crick H Q P, Sparks T H. Climate change related to egg-laying trends. Nature, 1999, 399: 423–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Menzel A, Fabian P. Growing season extended in Europe. Nature, 1999, 397: 659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zheng J Y, Ge Q S, Hao Z X. Climate change impacts on plant phenological changes in China in recent 40 years. Chin Sci Bull, 2002, 47: 1582–1587Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zheng J, Ge Q, Hao Z, et al. Spring phenophases in recent decades over Eastern China and its possible link to climate changes. Clim Change, 2006, 77: 449–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wang H J, Sun J Q. Variability of Northeast China river break-up date. Adv Atmos Sci, 2009, 26: 701–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Qian C, Fu C, Wu Z, et al. On the secular change of spring onset at Stockholm. Geophys Res Lett, 2009, 36: L12706, doi: 10.1029/2009-GL038617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Qian C, Fu C B, Wu Z, et al. The role of changes in the annual cycle in earlier onset of climatic spring in northern China. Adv Atmos Sci, 2011, 28: 284–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ren G Y, Guo J, Xu M Z, et al. Climate changes of China’s mainland over the past half century (in Chinese). Acta Meteorol Sin, 2005, 63: 942–955Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Xu M Z, Ren G Y. Change in climatic growth period over China: 1961-2000 (in Chinese). J Appl Meteorol Sci, 2004, 15: 306–3Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Qian W H, Lin X. Regional trends in recent temperature indices in China. Clim Res, 2004, 27: 119–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Song Y, Linderholm H W, Chen D, et al. Trends of the thermal growing season in China, 1951-2007. Int J Climatol, 2010, 30: 33–Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhai P, Pan X. Trends in temperature extremes during 1951–1999 in China. Geophys Res Lett, 2003, 30: 1913, doi:10.1029/2003GL018004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dong W J, Jiang Y D, Yang S. Response of the starting dates and the lengths of seasons in Mainland China to global warming. Clim Change, 2010, 99: 81–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Yu Z Y, Fan G Z, Hua W, et al. Variation characteristics of season start dates over China under the global warming (in Chinese). Clim Environ Res, 2010, 15: 73–82Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yan Z W, Xia J J, Qian C, et al. Changes in seasonal cycle and extremes in China during the period 1960-2008. Adv Atmos Sci, 2011, 28: 269–2Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wu Z, Huang N E. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition: A noise-assisted data analysis method. Adv Adapt Data Anal, 2009, 1: 1–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Li Z, Yan Z W. Homogenized daily mean/maximum/minimum temperature series for China from 1960–2008. Atmos Ocean Sci Lett, 2009, 2: 237–243Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Qian C, Yan Z W, Wu Z, et al. Trends in temperature extremes in association with weather-intraseasonal fluctuations in eastern China. Adv Atmos Sci, 2011, 28: 297–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Huang N E, Shen Z, Long S R, et al. The empirical mode decomposition and the Hilbert spectrum for nonlinear and nonstationary time series analysis. Proc R Soc A-Math Phys Eng Sci, 1998, 454: 903–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Huang N E, Wu Z. A review on Hilbert-Huang transform: Method and its applications to geophysical studies. Rev Geophys, 2008, 46: RG2006, doi:10.1029/2007RG000228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Qian C, Wu Z, Fu C B, et al. On multi-timescale variability of temperature in China in modulated annual cycle reference frame. Adv Atmos Sci, 2010, 27: 1169–1182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Qian C, Fu C, Wu Z. Changes in the amplitude of the temperature annual cycle in China and their implication for climate change research. J Clim, 2011, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00006.1Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zhang B K. The duration of four seasons in China (in Chinese). Acta Geogr Sin, 1934, 1: 29–74Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Jones P D, Briffa K R, Osborn T J, et al. Relationships between cir culation strength and the variability of growing-season and cold-season climate in northern and central Europe. Holocene, 2002, 12: 643–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Li J, Yu R, Zhou T, et al. Why is there an early spring cooling shift downstream of the Tibetan Plateau? J Clim, 2005, 18: 4460–4468Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Fu C B, An Z S. Study of aridification in northern China-A global change issue facing directly the demand of nation (in Chinese). Earth Sci Front, 2002, 9: 271–275Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ma Z G, Fu C B. Some evidence of drying trend over northern China from 1951 to 2004. Chin Sci Bull, 2006, 51: 2913–29Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    National Agricultural Technology Service Center. Introduction of the seeds approved on the Second Meeting of the Second National Crop Variety Approval Committee (V)-soybean (2) and wheat (1) (in Chinese). Seed Sci Tech, 2009, 5: 47–51Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    National Agricultural Technology Service Center. Introduction of the seeds approved on the Second Meeting of the Second National Crop Variety Approval Committee (V)-wheat (2) (in Chinese). Seed Sci Tech, 2009, 6: 49–51Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    National Agricultural Technology Service Center. Introduction of the seeds approved on the Second Meeting of the Second National Crop Variety Approval Committee (V)-wheat (2) (in Chinese). Seed Sci Tech, 2010, 5: 45–52Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations