Climate Dynamics

, Volume 52, Issue 5–6, pp 3643–3660 | Cite as

Anthropogenic impacts on recent decadal change in temperature extremes over China: relative roles of greenhouse gases and anthropogenic aerosols

  • Wei ChenEmail author
  • Buwen Dong


Observational analysis indicates significant changes in some temperature extremes over China across the mid-1990s. The decadal changes in hot extremes are characterized as a rise in annual hottest day and night temperature (TXx and TNx) and an increase in frequencies of summer days (SU) and tropical night (TR). The decadal changes in cold extremes are distinguished by a rise in annual coldest day and night temperature (TXn and TNn) and a decrease in frequencies of ice days (ID) and frost days (FD). These decadal changes manifest not only over China as a whole, but also over individual climate sub-regions. An atmosphere-ocean-mixed-layer coupled model forced by changes in greenhouse gases (GHG) concentrations and anthropogenic aerosol (AA) emissions realistically reproduces the general spatial patterns and magnitudes of observed changes in both hot and cold extremes across the mid-1990s, suggesting a pronounced role of anthropogenic changes in these observed decadal changes. Separately, changes in GHG forcing lead to rise in TXx, TNx, TXn and TNn, increase in frequencies of SU and TR and decrease in frequencies of ID and FD over China through increased Greenhouse Effect with positive clear sky longwave radiation and play a dominant role in simulated changes of both hot and cold extremes over China. The AA forcing changes tend to cool Southern China and warm Northern China during summer via aerosol-radiation interaction and AA-induced atmosphere-cloud feedback and therefore lead to some weak decrease in hot extremes over Southeastern China and increase over Northern China. Meanwhile, AA changes lead to warming over China during winter through cloud feedbacks related to aerosol induced cooling over tropical Indian Ocean and western tropical Pacific, and also induce changes in cold extremes the same sign as those induced by GHG, but with weak magnitude.


Hot temperature extremes Cold temperature extremes China Decadal change The mid-1990s Greenhouse gases Anthropogenic aerosol 



This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants 41675078, U1502233, 41320104007, by the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS (No. 2018102) and by the UK-China Research & Innovation Partnership Fund through the Met Office Climate Science for Service Partnership (CSSP) China as part of the Newton Fund. BD is supported by the U.K. National Centre for Atmospheric Science-Climate (NCAS-Climate) at the University of Reading. The authors thank Editor Jian Lu and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the earlier version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Meteorology, National Centre for Atmospheric Science-ClimateUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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