Evaluating the performance of five twentieth-century reanalysis datasets in reproducing the severe drought in northern China during the 1920s-1930s

  • Meng Luo
  • Jinming FengEmail author
  • Zhongfeng Xu
  • Yongli Wang
  • Li Dan
Original Paper


Drought is the major natural disaster that affects northern China and has regional distinctions in duration, strength, and spatial range. Using five sets of twentieth-century reanalysis data, we investigated a decadal-scale extreme drought recorded in historical documents and tree-ring chronologies during late 1920s to early 1930s. The results indicated that the characteristics of drought were different in North China and the middle reach of the Yellow River. Drought in North China showed an interannual variation coinciding strongly with El Niño. For the middle reach of the Yellow River, a persistently dry period lasting from 1922 to 1932 was found, while the driest years were 1928 and 1929.The dataset ERA-20C had better performance than other reanalysis datasets in both regions. The drought that happened in North China during these years may have been primarily determined by ENSO. The joint impact of PDO and AMO may have been responsible for the decadal dry anomaly in the middle reach of the Yellow River.



We downloaded GPCC Precipitation data provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA on their website at We thank the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia for providing the CRU TS4.01 datasets. We thank ECMWF for providing the ERA-20C, ERA-20CM, and CERA-20C reanalysis data.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFA0600403). Support for the Twentieth-Century Reanalysis Project version 2c dataset is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research (BER) and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office. Support for the Twentieth-Century Reanalysis Project dataset is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (DOE INCITE) program, by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meng Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jinming Feng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhongfeng Xu
    • 1
  • Yongli Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Li Dan
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Lab of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Environment, Energy and SustainabilityThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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