Inhomogeneity of precipitation and its influencing factors in Northwest China from 1961 to 2015

  • Weicheng Liu
  • Zhao FuEmail author
  • Xiaoyan Chen
  • Jing Qu
  • Jixin Wang
  • Xiao Peng
Original Paper


Inhomogeneous spatiotemporal distribution of precipitation tends to causecauses floods and waterlogging,; an in-depth analysis of the inhomogeneous spatiotemporalthis distribution of precipitation can provide scientific methods for coping with droughts and floods and guiding agricultural production. On the basis ofBased on the monthly precipitation and temperature field data collected by 119 stations in Northwest China from 1961 to 2015, the interannual variability of the precipitation concentration index (PCI) and monthly precipitation accounting for the average proportion of annual precipitation (MPPAP) was detected using the Mann–Kendall test and Sen’s slope estimator; further, the degree of importance of the factors that affectaffecting the inhomogeneous distribution of precipitation were analyzed using Random Forestsrandom forests (RF). The resultsResults show that thePCI’s spatial distribution of PCI in Northwest China generally decreases and increases in the east and west, respectively; further, the results show that thePCI’s interannual variability of PCI significantly fluctuates substantially in southern Xinjiang and the west of the Qinghai Plateau but, and relatively slightly in other areas. As for theRegarding PCI’s multi-year average variability of PCI, the annual precipitation distribution tends to be homogeneous in most areas of northwestNorthwest China except in, excluding the middle of the Qinghai Plateau, where the inhomogeneity of annual precipitation distribution intensifies. In terms of the annual precipitation distribution, the monthly precipitation shows an increasing trend in Xinjiang; however, in other regions, it reduces in warm seasons and increases in cold seasons. By contrastContrastingly, MPPAP decreases in warm seasons and increases in cold seasons.ThePrecipitation inhomogeneity of precipitation has a significant negative feedbackresponse to climate warming, i.e., a high annual temperature corresponds to the homogeneity of the annual precipitation distribution in most parts of northwestNorthwest China. The westerly circulation and monsoon are the main factors that affectaffecting the inhomogeneity of precipitation in the northwestern region.



We acknowledge the National Meteorological Information Center of the China Meteorological Administration for providing the observational precipitation dataset in China. We appreciate Suntrans ( assistance with the language of this manuscript. Anonymous reviewers are thanked for many helpful suggestions .


This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 41505036 and 41705067) and the Climatic Change Project of China Meteorological Administrator “Assessing Ecological drought in the Tibetan Plateau under global warming.”


  1. Alfieri L, Thielen J (2015) A European precipitation index for extreme rain-storm and flash flood early warning. Meteorol Appl 22:3–13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Annamalai H, Sperber KR (2007) The south Asian summer monsoon and its relationship to ENSO in the IPCC AR4 simulations. J Clim 20:1071–1092. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Apaydin H, Erpul G, Bayramin I, Gabriel D (2006) Evaluation of indices for characterizing the distribution and concentration of precipitation: a case for the region of southeastern Anatolia project, Turkey. J Hydrol 328:726–732. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benhamrouche A, Boucherf D, Hamadache R, Bendahmane L, Martin–Vide J, Nery JT (2015) Spatial distribution of the daily precipitation concentration index in Algeria. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 2:2709–2729.
  5. Bocheva L, Marinova T, Simeonov P, Gospodinov I (2009) Variability and trends of extreme precipitation events over Bulgaria (1961–2005). Atmos Res 93:490–497. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Breiman L (2001) Random forests. Mach Learn 45:5–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caloiero T, Coscarelli R, Gaudio R, Leonardo GP (2018) Precipitation trend and concentration in the Sardinia region. Theor Appl Climatol. Accessed 5th Febrary 2019
  8. Chatterjee S, Khan A, Akbari H, Wang Y (2016) Monotonic trends in spatio-temporal distribution and concentration of monsoon precipitation (1901–2002), West Bengal, India. Atmos Res 182:54–75. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chiang JCH, Swenson LM, Kong W (2017) Role of seasonal transitions and the westerlies in the interannual variability of the east asian summer monsoon precipitation: seasonal transitions in EASM variability. Geophys Res Lett 44:3788–3795. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Choi W, Tareghian R, Choi J, Hwang C (2014) Geographically heterogeneous temporal trends of extreme precipitation in Wisconsin, USA during 1950–2006. Int J Climatol 34:2841–2852. Google Scholar
  11. Deng H, Chen Y, Shi X, Li W, Wang H, Zhang S, Fang G (2014) Dynamics of temperature and precipitation extremes and their spatial variation in the arid region of Northwest China. Atmos Res 138:346–355. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Donges JF, Petrova I, Loew A, Marwan N, Kurths J (2013) How complex climate networks complement eigen techniques for the statistical analysis of climatological data. Clim Dyn 45:2407–2424.
  13. Duan JP, Wang LL, Ren JW, Li L (2009) Progress in glacier variations in China and its sensitivity to climatic change change during the past century. Prog Geography (in Chinese) 28:231–237Google Scholar
  14. Everitt BS, Skrondal A (2010) The Cambridge dictionary of statistics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  15. Fang Y, Fan GZ, Lai X, Hua W, Zhang YL (2016) Relations between intensity of the Qinghai-Xizang plateau monsoon and movement of the northern hemisphere westerlies. Plateau Meteorol (in Chinese) 35:1419–1429. Scholar
  16. Feng J, Wang L, Chen W (2014) How does the east asian summer monsoon behave in the decaying phase of El Nino during different Pdo phases? J Clim 27:2682–2698. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Georgieva K, Kirov B, Tonev P, Guineva V (2007) Long-term variations in the correlation between NAO and solar activity: the importance of north–south solar activity asymmetry for atmospheric circulation. Adv Space Res 40:1152–1166. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gu GJ, Adler RF (2015) Spatial patterns of global precipitation change and variability during 1901–2010. J Clim 28:4431–4453. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hidalgo-Muñoz JM, Argüeso D, Gámiz-Fortis SR, Esteban-Parra MJ, Castro-Díez Y (2011) Trends of extreme precipitation and associated synoptic patterns over the southern Iberian Peninsula. J Hydrol 409:497–511. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huang JP, Ran JJ, Ji MX (2014) Preliminary analysis of the flood disaster over the arid and semi-arid regions in China. Acta Meteorol Sin 72:1096–1107. Google Scholar
  21. IPCC (2014) Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. IPCC, Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  22. Ji F, Zhao JH, Shen Q, Zhi R (2014) The distribution of large-scale drought/flood of summer in China under different configurations of monsoon and polar vortex. Acta Phys Sin 63:059201. Google Scholar
  23. Jiang J, Jiang DB, Lin YY (2015) Monsoon area and precipitation over China for 1961–2009. Chinese J Atmos Sci (in Chinese) 39:722–730. Google Scholar
  24. Kendall MG (1975) Rank correlation methods. Charles Grifin Company, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Kinter JL, Miyakoda K, Yang S (2002) Recent change in the connection from the asian monsoon to ENSO. J Clim 15:1203–1215.<1203:RCITCF>2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kunkel KE, Karl TR, Easterling DR, Redmond K, Young J (2013) Probable maximum precipitation and climate change. Geophys Res Lett 40:1402–1408. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li D, Ke YH, Gong HL, Li XJ, Deng Z (2016) Urban tree species classification with machine learning classifier using WorldView-2 imagery. Geogr Geo-Inf Sci (in Chinese) 32:84–89. Google Scholar
  28. Li H, Zhai P, Lu E, Zhao W, Chen Y, Wang H (2017) Changes in temporal concentration property of summer precipitation in China during 1961–2010 based on a new index. J Meteorol Res-PRC 31:336–349. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Li WL, Wang KL, Fu SM, Jiang H (2008) The interrelationship between regional westerly index and the water vapor bugdet in Northwest China. J Glaciol Geocryol (in Chinese) 30:28–34.
  30. Li X, Jiang F, Li L, Wang G (2011) Spatial and temporal variability of precipitation concentration index, concentration degree and concentration period in Xinjiang, China. Int J Climatol 31:1679–1693. Google Scholar
  31. Liu W, Zhang Q, Fu Z (2017) Variation characteristics of precipitation and its affecting factors in Northwest China over the past 55 years. Plateau Meteorol (in Chinese) 36:1533–1545. Google Scholar
  32. Liu XF, Ren ZY, Zhang C, Lin ZH (2012) Inhomogeneity characteristics of intra-annual precipitation on the loess plateau during 1959–2008. Prog Geogr (in Chinese) 31:1157–1163Google Scholar
  33. Lupikasza E (2010) Spatial and temporal variability of extreme precipitation in Poland in the period 1951–2006. Int J Climatol 30:991–1007. Google Scholar
  34. Madsena H, Lawrenceb D, Langc M, Martinkovad M, Kjeldsen TR (2014) Review of trend analysis and climate change projections of extreme precipitation and floods in Europe. J Hydrol 519:3634–3650. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mann HB (1945) Nonparametric tests against trend. Econometrica 13:245–259. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Martin–Vide J (2004) Spatial distribution of daily precipitation concentration index in peninsular Spain. Int J Climatol 24:959–971. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Michiels P, Gabriels D, Hartmann R (1992) Using the seasonal and temporal precipitation concentration index for characterizing the monthly rainfall distribution in Spain. Catena 19:43–58. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Norbiato D, Borga M, Sangati M, Zanon F (2007) Regional frequency analysis of extreme precipitation in the eastern Italian Alps and the august 29, 2003 flash flood. J Hydrol 345:149–166. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Oliver JE (1980) Monthly precipitation distribution: a vomparative index. Prof Geogr 32:300–309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Qian WH, Zhu YF (2001) Climate change in China from 1880 to 1998 and its impact on the environmental condition. Clim Chang 50:419–444. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Qu WJ, Zhang XY, Wang D, Shen ZX, Mei FM, Chen Y, Yan LW (2004) The important significance of westerly wind study. Mar Geol Quat Geol (in Chinese) 21:125–132. Google Scholar
  42. Rahmani V, Hutchinson SL, Harrington JAJ, Hutchinson S (2014) Changes in the extreme rainfall events trends and variability in Kansas, USA. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CAGoogle Scholar
  43. Ramos MC, Martinez–Casasnovas JA (2006) Trends in precipitation concentration and extremes in the mediterranean Penedes–Anoia region. NE Spain Clim Change 74:457–474. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ren Z, Xiong A, Zou F (2007) The quality control of surface monthly climate data in China. J Appl Meteorol Sci (in Chinese) 18:516–523Google Scholar
  45. Royé D, Martin–Vide J (2017) Concentration of daily precipitation in the contiguous United States. Atmos Res 237–247.
  46. Sen PK (1968) Estimates of the regression coefficient based on Kendall's tau. J Am Stat Assoc 63:1379–1389. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Serrano–Notivoli R, Martín–Vide J, Saz M, Longares LA, Beguería S (2018) Spatio-temporal variability of daily precipitation concentration in Spain based on a high-resolution gridded data set. Int J Climatol 38:518–530. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shao P, Zeng XD (2011) The impact of interannual climate variability on the mean global vegetation distribution. Acta Ecol Sin (in Chinese) 31:1494–1505.
  49. Shi P, Wu M, Qu SM, Zhang ZC (2015) Spatial distribution and temporal trends in precipitation concentration indices for the Southwest China. Water Resour Manag 29:3941–3955. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Trenberth KE (1998) Atmospheric moisture residence times and cycling:implications for rainfall rates and climate change. Clim Chang 39:667–694. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trenberth KE (2011) Changes in precipitation with climate change. Clim Res 47:123–138. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vyshkvarkova E, Voskresenskaya E, Martin-Vide J (2018) Spatial distribution of the daily precipitation concentration index in southern Russia. Atmos Res 203:36–43. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wang BL, Zhang MJ, Wei JL, Wang SJ (2013) Changes in extreme events of temperature and precipitation over Xinjiang, Northwest China, during 1960–2009. Quat Int 298:141–151. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wang X, Xu X, Miao Q (2003) Regional characteristics of summer precipitation and water vapor amount in Northwest China. Clim Environ Res (in Chinese) 8:35–42Google Scholar
  55. Shi Y, Shen Y, Kang E, Li D, Ding Y, Zhang G, Hu R (2007) Recent and future climate change in Northwest China. Clim Chang 80:379–393. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yamakawa S, Inoue M, Suppiah R (2016) Relationships between solar activity and variations in SST and atmospheric circulation in the stratosphere and troposphere. Quat Int 397:289–299. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yang P, Xia J, Zhan C, Zhang Y, Hu S (2017) Discrete wavelet transform-based investigation into the variability of standardized precipitation index in Northwest China during 1960–2014. Theor Appl Climatol 132:167–180. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zhang L, Qian Y (2003) Annual distribution features of precipitation in China and their interannual variations. J Meteorol Res-PRC 17:146–163Google Scholar
  59. Zhang TY, Cheng BY, Wang JF, Zhang YL, Liu XR (2007) Temporal and spatial change characteristis of precipitation concentration degree (PCD) and precipitation concentration period (PCP) over North China in rainy season. Plateau Meteorol(in Chinese) 26:843-853Google Scholar
  60. Zheng JY, Bian JJ, Ge QS, Yin YH (2013) The climate regionalization in China for 1951–1980 and 1981–2010. Geogr Res (in Chinese) 23:987–997.
  61. Zheng JY, Yin YH, Li BY (2010) A new scheme for climate regionalization in China. Acta Geograph Sin (in Chinese) 65:3–13.
  62. Zheng Y, Chen X, He Y, Lai C, Wang Z (2016) Spatial-temporal variation of precipitation concentration degree in pearl river basin and its causes. J China Hydrol (in Chinese) 36:22–28Google Scholar
  63. Zhou L, Wu R (2015) Interdecadal variability of winter precipitation in Northwest China and its association with the North Atlantic SST change. Int J Climatol 35:1172–1179. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zhou XX, Ding YH, Wang PX (2008) Moisture transport in Asian summer monsoon region and its relationship withsummer precipitation in China. Acta Meteorol sin(in Chinese) 66:59-70.
  65. Zhu D, Xiao TG, Chen Y (2010) A study on precipitation concentration in Sichuan Province from 1960 to 2004. Resour Sci (in Chinese) 32:1910–1917.
  66. Zimmerman DA, Marsily GD, Gotway CA, Marietta MG, Axness CL, Beauheim R, Bras RL (1998) A comparison of seven geostatistically based inverse approaches to estimate transmissivities for modeling advective transport by groundwater flow. Water Resour Res 34:1373–1413. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Atmospheric SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Lanzhou Central Meteorological ObservatoryLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Ya’an Polytechnic CollegeYa’anChina
  4. 4.Institute of Heavy RainChina Meteorological AdministrationWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations