Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 120, Issue 3–4, pp 785–796 | Cite as

Analysis of surface air temperature warming rate of China in the last 50 years (1962–2011) using k-means clustering

  • Feng Jinming
  • Liu YongheEmail author
  • Yan Zhongwei
Original Paper


Using observed surface temperature data from about 570 meteorological stations in China, the linear temperature trend over the last 50 years (1962–2011) is estimated. Average warming rates at all stations are 0.284 ± 0.142, 0.200 ± 0.163, and 0.392 ± 0.193 °C/10 a for annual, June–July–August (JJA), and December–January–February (DJF) mean temperatures, respectively. The warming rates (°C/a) have a regressed slope of 0.001 with latitude, and their relationship with latitude using data from stations below 1,000 m altitude is estimated at 0.009 °C/(10 a · degree). A k-means clustering is constructed using correlation coefficients to quantify the closeness. The clustering schemes with k = 5 and k = 10 are successfully implemented for annual, DJF, and JJA mean temperatures. The k = 10 scheme showed greater ability to distinguish different locations than the k = 5 clustering. In both schemes, the mean estimated warming rates are averaged over stations in each cluster. The clusters in DJF are much different than those for the entire year and for JJA. The average warming rate in each cluster is estimated and compared. Using stations in the cluster of high-elevation southeast Tibetan Plateau, the relationship between warming rates and altitude is estimated at 1.0 × 10−2 °C/(10 a · 100 m).


Tibetan Plateau Tarim Basin Aerosol Optical Depth Sichuan Basin Hexi Corridor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is financially supported by Projects of National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 41105074 and 41275108), the Open Research Fund of Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant number 2011LDE010), and the Scientific Research Fund of Henan Polytechnic University (grant number B2011-038).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment Research for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Resources and EnvironmentHenan Polytechnic UniversityJiaozuoPeople’s Republic of China

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