Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Recent and Future Climate Change in Northwest China

  • Published:
Climatic Change Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

As a consequence of global warming and an enhanced water cycle, the climate changed in northwest China, most notably in the Xinjiang area in the year 1987. Precipitation, glacial melt water and river runoff and air temperature increased continuously during the last decades, as did also the water level of inland lakes and the frequency of flood disasters. As a result, the vegetation cover is improved, number of days with sand-dust storms reduced. From the end of the 19th century to the 1970s, the climate was warm and dry, and then changed to warm and wet. The effects on northwest China can be classified into three classes by using the relation between precipitation and evaporation increase. If precipitation increases more than evaporation, runoff increases and lake water levels rise. We identify regions with: (1) notable change, (2) slight change and (3) no change. The future climate for doubled CO2 concentration is simulated in a nested approach with the regional climate model-RegCM2. The annual temperature will increase by 2.7 ^ C and annual precipitation by 25%. The cooling effect of aerosols and natural factors will reduce this increase to 2.0 ^C and 19% of precipitation. As a consequence, annual runoff may increase by more than 10%.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Bengtsson L (1997) Numerical simulation of climate change caused by human activities, Ambio (Chinese edition) 26:58–65 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Gao X, Zao Z, Ding Y (2001) Climate change due to greenhouse effect in China as simulated by a regional climate model. Adv Atmos Sci 18:53–66

    Google Scholar 

  • Gao X, Zao Z, Ding Y (2003) Climate change due to greenhouse effect in Northwest China as simulated by a regional climate model. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:165–169 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Giorgi F, Marinucci MR, Bates GT (1993) Development of a second generation regional climatic model (Reg CM2) I and II. Monthly Weather Rev 121:2791–2832

    Google Scholar 

  • Gordon HB, Farrell RO (1997) Transient climate change in the CSIRO coupled with dynamic sea ice. Monthly Weather Rev 125:875–907

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guo N, Zhang J, Liang Y (2003) Climate change indicated by the recent change of inland lakes in Northwest China. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:211–214 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Hu R, Ma H, Fan Z (2002) Climate Trend indicated by lake variation in Xinjiang. Res Environ Arid Regions 16:20–27 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Huang J, Mao W, Li Y, Wang S (2003) Flash Flood event of July, 2002 in Weigan River watershed, Xinjiang. China J Glaciol Geocryol 25:204–310 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • IPCC, Climate Change (2001) In: Houghton et al. (eds) The science basis contribution of working group 1. Cambridge, New York, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 2

    Google Scholar 

  • Jiang F, Zhu C, Mu G (2002) Enlargement of flood and drought disasters in Xinjiang. Acta Geographica Sinica 52:57–66 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Lai Z, Yi B (1995) Variation and trend of the river runoff in Northwest China. In: Shi Y (ed) Impacts of climate change on Water resources in northwest and north China. Jinan, Shandong Science and technology Press, pp 95–119 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Li Z, Han T, Jin Z, Yan H, Jiao K (2003) A summary of 40 years observed variation facts of climate and Glacier No.1 at headwater of Urumqi River, Tianshan, China. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:117–123 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Liu C, Shi Y, Wang Z (2000) Glacial water resources and their distribution in China — Completion of glacier inventory in China. J Glaciol Geocryol 22:100–112 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Liu C, Xie Z, Liu S (2002) Glacial water resources and their change. In: Kang E (ed) Glacier — snow water resources and the mountain runoff in the arid area of Northwest China. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Ma M, Dong L, Wang X (2003) Study on the dynamically monitoring and simulating the vegetation cover in Northwest China in the past 21 years. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:232–236 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Qian Z, Song M, Li W (2002) Distribution and variation trend of sand-dust storm in northern China in recent 50 years. J Desert Res 22:106–111 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Salinger MJ (2005) Climate variability and change: past, present and future — An overview. Clim Change 70:9–29

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sheppard C (1999) Weather pattern in Chagos over 25 years of the Chagos Islands. A Nat Hist, Academic Press

  • Shi Y, Ren J (1990) Glacier recession and lake shrinkage indicating a climate warming and drying trend in central Asia. Annal Glaciol 14:261–265

    Google Scholar 

  • Shi Y, Shen Y, Hu R (2002) Preliminary study on signal, impact and foreground of climatic shaft from warm-dry to warm-wet in Northwest China. J Glaciol Geocryol 24:219–226 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Tang M, Liu Y, Feng S (2002) Possible coming of a new warm period in the time scale of thousand years. Plateau Meteorol 21:128–131 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang Q, Bayinchahan Ma D, Zeng Q, Jiang F, Wang Y, Hu R (2003) Analysis on causes of the water level variation of Ebinur Lake in recent 50 years. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:224–228 (In Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang S, Dong G, etal (2002) Environmental characteristics and evolution in west China. In: Qin D (ed) Assessment on the environmental evolution in west China, Science Press, Beijing, 1:49–61 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang T, Chen G, Qian Z (2001) Actuality and countermeasures of sand-dust storms in north China. J Desert Res 21:322–327 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang N, Yao T, Pu J, Wang Y et al. (2003) Variation in air temperature during the past 100 years revealed by Delta 18O in the Malan ice core, from the Tibetan Plateau. Chinese Sci Bull 48:2133–2138

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang Z (1991) Glaciers and environment at the central Tianshan Mountains and the east Qilian Mountains since the Little Ice Age. Acta Geographica Sinica 46:160–168 (In Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilkinson C, Linden O, Cesar H (1999) Ecological and socioeconomic impact of 1998 coral mortality in the Indian Ocean: an ENSO impact and warming of future change. Ambio 28:188–196 (Chinese Edition)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wu S (2002) Midsummer flood of 1999 in Xinjiang. Hydrology 22:58–60 (In Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wu S, Zhang G (2003) Preliminary approach on the floods and their calamity changing tendency in Xinjiang region. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:199–203 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Xu G, Yao J, Li S (1997) Climate change in the arid and semi-arid regions of China. Chinese Meteorology Press, Beijing, pp 1–101 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Xu L, Wang J (2002) 30 cm rise of water level of the Qinghai Lake 2002, Chinese Meteorology Newspaper. September 23, 2002, first issue (in Chinese)

  • Yan H, Jia S (2003) Hydrological elements change of Qinghai Province in past 50 years. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:193–198 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Yu Y, Wang J, Li Q (2003) Spatial and temporal distribution of water vapor and its variation trend in atmosphere over Northwest China. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:149–156 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Yuan Y, Li J, Zhang J (2001) 380 years precipitation reconstruction from tree rings for the north slope of the Middle Tianshan Mountains. Acta Meteorologica Sinica 15:95–104

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhang J, Shi Z (2002) Climate change and short term forecast in Xinjiang. Chinese Meteorology Press, Beijing, pp 60–109, 145–147 (in Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhang G, Wu S, Wang Z (2003) The signal of climatic shift in Northwest China deduced from river runoff change in Xinjiang region. J Glaciol Geocryol 25:183–187 (In Chinese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhao Z, Gao X, Tang M (2002) Projection of climate change. In: Ding Y (ed) Projection of environment change in west China. Science Press, Beijing, pp 16–46 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yafeng Shi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Shi, Y., Shen, Y., Kang, E. et al. Recent and Future Climate Change in Northwest China. Climatic Change 80, 379–393 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-006-9121-7

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-006-9121-7

Keywords

Navigation