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Changes in extreme precipitation in the Wei River Basin of China during 1957–2019 and potential driving factors

Abstract

Extreme precipitation poses a severe threat to the natural ecosystem, socioeconomic development, and human life. Investigating the spatiotemporal variations in extreme precipitation and exploring the potential drivers have implications for disaster risk reduction and water resource management. In this study, we analyzed the changes in nine extreme precipitation indices (EPIs) over the Wei River Basin (WRB) during 1957–2019. Furthermore, we assessed the effect of geographic factors (latitude, longitude, and altitude) on the spatial distribution of EPIs and the potential impact of ocean–atmosphere circulation on the temporal variability of EPIs. The results indicate that six EPIs present a downward trend and three EPIs show an upward trend, but all the trends are not significant. In the seasonal scale, max 1-day precipitation amount (RX1day) increases significantly in summer (P < 0.05), while the trends in max 5-day precipitation amount (RX5day) are not significant in all seasons. The period of about 8 years and less than 3 years were observed in most EPIs. The mean values of EPIs except consecutive dry days (CDD) gradually increase from northwest to southeast of the WRB. Latitude, longitude, and altitude are important factors affecting the spatial distribution of the extreme precipitation. Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) contribute the most to EPIs variation. Interdecadal and interannual oscillations occur between most EPIs and ocean-atmospheric circulation factors, but their phase relationships are different. Our findings highlight the importance of examining global and local driving factors of trend in regional extreme precipitation by a systematic approach, and help to further understand the precipitation changes in the WRB.

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Data availability

The meteorological observations are archived by the China Meteorological Administration. The ocean-atmospheric circulation indicators are provided by the Earth System Research Laboratory of the Physical Sciences Division National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Code availability

The RClimDex software package and the codes for the procedures of CWT and WTC, used in this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

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Funding

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFE0118100-1).

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Peng Gao: conceptualization, supervision. Dexun Qiu: methodology, software, writing—original draft, visualization. Changxue Wu: writing—original draft, writing-reviewing, and editing, data curation. Xingmin Mu and Guangju Zhao: writing—reviewing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Xingmin Mu or Peng Gao.

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Qiu, D., Wu, C., Mu, X. et al. Changes in extreme precipitation in the Wei River Basin of China during 1957–2019 and potential driving factors. Theor Appl Climatol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-022-04101-9

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