Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 133, Issue 3–4, pp 1009–1019 | Cite as

Comparison of two air temperature gridding methods over complex terrain in China

  • Guoping Shi
  • Zhian Sun
  • Xinfa QiuEmail author
  • Yan Zeng
  • Peng Chen
  • Changjie Liu
Original Paper


This paper evaluates the monthly mean air temperature over complex terrain in China determined using two methods: Australian National University spline and GridMet_Climate_Temperature (grid meteorological and climatic temperature (GMCT)) models. It is found that the macroscopic patterns of the temperature distributions by the two methods are very similar. The comparison of modelled temperatures with observations from 40 verification stations shows that both methods have the same value of total mean absolute bias errors (MABE) of 0.43 °C. Since the observational data used are from meteorological observational stations which are located on horizontal flat and open areas, these evaluation results only represent those on the flat open areas. In order to evaluate the effects of topographical factors on the temperature, a concept of relief amplitude is defined. The temperatures are grouped according to range of the relief amplitudes, and variation of temperature with relief amplitudes is worked out. It is found that the temperature difference between the two models varies significantly with relief amplitudes. The averaged maximum difference can be as large as 12 °C in January when the relief amplitude is greater than 700 m. The reasons for the temperature difference are investigated, and they are due to the effects of topographical slopes and aspects. One model (GMCT) includes these effects while the other does not. The evaluation results demonstrate that it is necessary to include the effects of topographical factors in the model simulation in order to produce realistic temperature distributions in the complex terrain areas. The distributions of temperature on the northern and southern slopes are determined using the GMCT model, and the results show that the temperatures on the southern slopes are clearly greater than those of the northern slopes, especially in winter. These results can be used as a guide for the reasonable and sustainable utilization of heat resources in the mountainous area.



Dr. Michael Naughton from the Science and Innovation group, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, is thanked for polishing the English of this manuscript. The anonymous reviewers have made many valuable comments and suggestions, which lead to improving the quality of this paper. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (41330529) and the Forth “333 High-Level Talents Training Project” of Jiangsu Province (BRA2014373) are also thanked.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guoping Shi
    • 1
  • Zhian Sun
    • 2
  • Xinfa Qiu
    • 3
    Email author
  • Yan Zeng
    • 4
  • Peng Chen
    • 5
  • Changjie Liu
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Geography and Remote SensingNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.Science & Innovation Group, Australian Bureau of MeteorologyMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Applied MeteorologyNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  4. 4.Jiangsu Climate CenterNanjingChina
  5. 5.Jiangsu Meteorological Information CenterNanjingChina
  6. 6.Zhejiang Climate CenterHangzhouChina

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