Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 133, Issue 3–4, pp 1235–1247 | Cite as

Variations in extreme precipitation on the Loess Plateau using a high-resolution dataset and their linkages with atmospheric circulation indices

  • Guangju ZhaoEmail author
  • Jianqing Zhai
  • Peng Tian
  • Limei Zhang
  • Xingmin MuEmail author
  • Zhengfeng An
  • Mengwei Han
Original Paper


Assessing regional patterns and trends in extreme precipitation is crucial for facilitating flood control and drought adaptation because extreme climate events have more damaging impacts on society and ecosystems than simple shifts in the mean values. In this study, we employed daily precipitation data from 231 climate stations spanning 1961 to 2014 to explore the changes in precipitation extremes on the Loess Plateau, China. Nine of the 12 extreme precipitation indices suggested decreasing trends, and only the annual total wet-day precipitation (PRCPTOT) and R10 declined significantly: − 0.69 mm/a and − 0.023 days/a at the 95% confidence level. The spatial patterns in all of the extreme precipitation indices indicated mixed trends on the Loess Plateau, with decreasing trends in the precipitation extremes at the majority of the stations examined in the Fen-Wei River valley and high-plain plateau. Most of extreme precipitation indices suggested apparent regional differences, whereas R25 and R20 had spatially similar patterns on the Loess Plateau, with many stations revealing no trends. In addition, we found a potential decreasing trend in rainfall amounts and rainy days and increasing trends in rainfall intensities and storm frequencies in some regions due to increasing precipitation events in recent years. The relationships between extreme rainfall events and atmospheric circulation indices suggest that the weakening trend in the East Asia summer monsoon has limited the northward extension of the rainfall belt to northern China, thereby leading to a decrease in rainfall on the Loess Plateau.



The study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51509206, 41271295, and 41671279), the National Key Scientific Research Project (2016YFC0402401), the Governmental Public Industry Research Special Funds for Projects (201501049), and the Special Funds of Scientific Research Programs of the State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau (A314021403-Q2). The authors would like to thank the National Climatic Center and the Hydrology Bureau of the Yellow River Water Resources Commission for providing valuable climatic and hydrological data. The authors also thank the reviewers for their valuable comments, which greatly improved the quality of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guangju Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jianqing Zhai
    • 3
    • 4
  • Peng Tian
    • 5
  • Limei Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xingmin Mu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zhengfeng An
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mengwei Han
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess PlateauNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Soil and Water ConservationChinese Academy of Sciences & Ministry of Water ResourcesYanglingChina
  3. 3.National Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological DisastersNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  4. 4.Climate CenterChina Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina
  5. 5.College of Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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