Spatiotemporal trends of temperature and precipitation extremes across contrasting climatic zones of China during 1956–2015

  • Jing Zheng
  • Junliang FanEmail author
  • Fucang Zhang
Original Paper


Spatiotemporal changes of temperature and precipitation extremes from 1956 to 2015 were analyzed at 200 representative weather stations evenly distributed in the temperate continental zone (TCZ), temperate monsoon zone (TMZ), mountain plateau zone (MPZ), and (sub) tropical monsoon zone (SMZ) of China, using 16 extreme temperature and 11 extreme precipitation indexes. The results showed that warm days (TX90p) and warm nights (TN90p) increased significantly, while cool days (TX10p) and cool nights (TN10p) decreased significantly in the whole China. Overall increasing trends were found for maximum and minimum daily maximum temperature (TXx and TXn) and maximum and minimum daily minimum temperature (TNx and TNn). Warm indexes, including summer days (SU25), tropical nights (TR20), warm spell duration indicator (WSDI), and growing season length (GSL), showed increasing trends, whereas cold indexes such as frost days (FD0), ice days (ID0), cold spell duration indicator (CSDI), and diurnal temperature range (DTR) showed decreasing trends. These extreme temperature indexes exhibited high correlations with mean air temperature. MPZ exhibited the most remarkable change magnitudes among the four zones, while the smallest changes occurred in SMZ. An accelerating warming trend was particularly observed since 1986. Nationally, only daily rainfall intensity (SDII) showed significantly increasing trends, while the increasing trends of other precipitation indexes were not significant. Apart from consecutive wet days (CWD), changes of precipitation extremes presented increasing trends. PRCPTOT and R10mm exhibited the highest correlation coefficient across contrasting climatic zones. Regionally averaged precipitation totals were decreasing in TMZ during 1956–1985, but increasing trends were identified after 1985. The upward tendency of precipitation totals in MPZ and the west part of TCZ may alleviate the pressure of water shortage in arid and semi-arid regions of China, but the upward trend in SMZ, especially in the coastal areas of southeastern China, may aggravate the risk of flood-induced disasters in these regions.


Global warming Temperature extremes Precipitation extremes RClimdex Mann–Kendall test 



The authors extend their gratitude to the National Meteorological Information Center of China Meteorological Administration for offering the meteorological data.

Funding information

This study was jointly financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51879226) and the “111” Project (B12007).

Supplementary material

704_2019_2942_MOESM1_ESM.docx (50 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 49 kb)


  1. Alexander LV, Zhang XB, Peterson TC, Caesar J, Gleason B, Klein Tank A, Haylock M, Collins D, Trewin B, Rahimzadeh F (2006) Global observed changes in daily climate extremes of temperature and precipitation. J Geophys Res Atmos 111(D05109)Google Scholar
  2. Bornstein R, Lin QL (2000) Urban heat islands and summertime convective thunderstorms in Atlanta: three case studies. Atmos Environ 34(3):507–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Castex V, Beniston M, Calanca P, Fleury D, Moreau J (2018) Pest management under climate change: the importance of understanding tritrophic relations. Sci Total Environ 616-617:397–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cheong WK, Timbal B, Golding N, Sirabaha S, Kwan KF, Cinco TA, Han S (2018) Observed and modelled temperature and precipitation extremes over Southeast Asia from 1972 to 2010. Int J Climatol 38(7):3013–3027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Choi G, Collins D, Ren GY, Trewin B, Baldi M, Fukuda K, Afzaal M, Pianmana T, Gomboluudev P, Huong PTT, Lias N, Kwon WT, Boo KO, Cha YM, Zhou YQ (2009) Changes in means and extreme events of temperature and precipitation in the Asia-Pacific Network region, 1955-2007. Int J Climatol 29:1906–1925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ding YH, Wang ZY, Sun Y (2008) Inter-decadal variation of the summer precipitation in East China and its association with decreasing Asian summer monsoon. Part I: observed evidences. Int J Climatol 28:1139–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ding T, Gao H, Li WJ (2018) Extreme high-temperature event in southern China in 2016 and the possible role of cross-equatorial flows. Int J Climatol 38(9):3579–3594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dookie N, Xsitaaz TC, Ricardo MC (2019) Trends in extreme temperature and precipitation indices for the Caribbean small islands: Trinidad and Tobago. Theor Appl Climatol 136(1-2):31–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fan JL, Wu LF, Zhang FC, Xiang YZ, Zheng J (2016) Climate change effects on reference crop evapotranspiration across different climatic zones of China during 1956-2015. J Hydrol 542:923–937CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fan JL, Yue WJ, Wu LF, Zhang FC, Cai HJ, Wang XK, Lu XH, Xiang YZ (2018) Evaluation of SVM, ELM and four tree-based ensemble models for predicting daily reference evapotranspiration using limited meteorological data in different climates of China. Agric For Meteorol 263:225–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fan JL, Wu LF, Zhang FC, Cai HJ, Ma X, Bai H (2019) Evaluation and development of empirical models for estimating daily and monthly mean daily diffuse horizontal solar radiation for different climatic regions of China. Renew Sust Energ Rev 105:168–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feng J, Chen W, Tam CY, Zhou W (2011a) Different impacts of El Niño and El Niño Modoki on China rainfall in the decaying phases. Int J Climatol 31:2091–2101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feng L, Zhou TJ, Wu B, Li T, Luo JJ (2011b) Projection of Future Precipitation Change over China with a High-Resolution Global Atmospheric Model. Adv Atoms Sci 28(2):464–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fu QL, Lin X, Qian WH (2008) The temporal and spatial characteristics of graded summer rain days over China. J Trop Meteorol 24:367–373Google Scholar
  15. Fu GB, Yu JJ, Yu XB, Ouyang RL, Zhang YC, Wang P, Liu WB, Min LL (2013) Temporal variation of extreme rainfall events in China, 1961-2009. J Hydrol 487:48–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gao T, Judy Wang HX, Zhou TJ (2017) Changes of extreme precipitation and nonlinear influence of climate variables over monsoon region in China. Atmos Res 197:379–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gocic M, Trajkovic S (2013) Analysis of changes in meteorological variables using Mann-Kendall and Sen’s slope estimator statistical tests in Serbia. Glob Planet Chang 100:172–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guan YH (2015) Extreme climate change and its trend prediction in the Yangtze River Basin (Ph.D). Northwest A&F University, YanglingGoogle Scholar
  19. Guan YH, Zhang XC, Zheng FL, Wang B (2015) Trends and variability of daily temperature extremes during 1960-2012 in the Yangtze River Basin, China. Glob Planet Chang 124:79–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Guo ZF, Liu JQ (2002) Research advance in effect of volvanism on climate changes. Adv Earth Science 17:595–604 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  21. Guo JH, Huang GH, Wang XQ, Li YP, Yang L (2018) Future changes in precipitation extremes over China projected by a regional climate model ensemble. Atmos Environ 188:142–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harrison L, Michaelsen J, Funk C, Husak G (2011) Effects of temperature changes on maize production in Mozambique. Clim Res 46:211–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huang RH, Wu YF (1989) The influence of ENSO on the summer climate change in China and its mechanism. Adv Atoms Sci 6:21–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. IPCC (2007) Summary for Policymakers of Climate Change, 2007: The physical science basis. In: Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. IPCC (2013) Climate change, 2013: the physical science basis. In: Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 1535Google Scholar
  26. Jiang X, Liu WD (2007) Numerical simulations of impacts of urbanization on heavy rainfall in Beijing using different land-use data. J Met Res 21(2):245–255Google Scholar
  27. Jiang FQ, Hu RJ, Wang SP, Zhang YW, Tong L (2012a) Trends of precipitation extremes during 1960-2008 in Xinjiang, the Northwest China. Theor Appl Climatol 111:133–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jiang ZH, Song J, Li L, Chen WL, Wang ZF, Wang J (2012b) Extreme climate events in China: IPCC-AR4 model evaluation and projection. Clim Chang 110:385–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ju JH, Ren JZ, Lv JM (2004) Effect of interdecadal variation of Arctic oscillation on temperature increasing in north of East Asian winter. Plateau Meteorol 23(4):429–434 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  30. Kendall MG (1975) Rank correlation methods. Griffin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  31. Li HX, Chen HP, Wang HJ (2017) Effects of anthropogenic activity emerging as intensified extreme precipitation over China. J Geophys Res Atmos 122(13):6899–6914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Li LC, Yao N, Li Y, Liu DL, Wang B, Ayantobo OO (2019) Future projections of extreme temperature events in different sub-regions of China. Atmos Res 217:150–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Liu BH, Xu M, Henderson M, Qi Y (2004) Taking China’s temperature: daily range, warming trends, and regional variations. J Clim 17(22):4453–4462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Liu XD, Cheng ZG, Yan LB, Yin ZY (2009) Elevation dependency of recent and future minimum surface air temperature trends in the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings. Glob Planet Chang 68:164–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Liu SY, Huang SZ, Xie YY, Huang Q, Leng GY, Hou BB, Zhang Y, Wei X (2018) Spatial-temporal chagnes of maximum and minimum temperatures in the Wei River Basin, China: changing pattrens, causes and implications. Atmos Res 204:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Liu XW, Xu ZX, Peng DZ, Wu GC (2019) Influences of the North Atlantic Oscillation on extreme temperature during the cold period in China. Int J Climatol 39(1):43–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lu CH, Sun Y, Wan H, Zhang XB, Yin H (2016) Anthropogenic influence on the frequency of extreme temperatures in China. Geophys Res Lett 43(12):6511–6518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ma SM, Zhou TJ, Dai AG, Han ZY (2015) Observed Changes in the distributions of daily precipitation frequency and amount over China from 1960 to 2013. J Clim 28:6960–6978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mann HB (1945) Nonparametric tests against trend. Econometrica 13:245–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mei C, Liu JH, Chen MT, Wang H, Li M, Yu YD (2018) Multi-decadal spatial and temporal changes of extreme precipitation patterns in northern China (Jing-Jin-Ji district, 1960-2013). Quat Int 476:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pachauri RK, Allen MR, Barros VR, Broome J, Cramer W, Christ R, Church JA, Clarke L, Dahe Q, Dasgupta P, Dubash NK, Edenhofer O, Elgizouli I, Field CB, Forster P, Friedlingstein P, Fuglestvedt J, Gomez-Echeverri L, Hallegatte S, Hegerl G, Howden M, Jiang K, Jimenez Cisneroz B, Kattsov V, Lee H, Mach KJ, Marotzke J, Mastrandrea MD, Meyer L, Minx J, Mulugetta Y, O'Brien K, Oppenheimer M, Pereira JJ, Pichs-Madruga R, Plattner GK, Pörtner HO, Power SB, Preston B, Ravindranath NH, Reisinger A, Riahi K, Rusticucci M, Scholes R, Seyboth K, Sokona Y, Stavins R, Stocker T F, Tschakert P, van Vuuren D, van Ypserle JP (2014) Climate change 2014: synthesis report. Contribution of working groups I, II and III to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. IPCC, Geneva, p 151Google Scholar
  42. Pei FS, Wu CJ, Liu XP, Hu ZL, Xia Y, Liu LA, Wang K, Zhou Y, Xu L (2018) Detection and attribution of extreme precipitation changes from 1961 to 2012 in the Yangtze River Delta in China. Catena 169:183–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pettitt AN (1979) A non-parametric approach to the change-point problem. J R Stat Soc 28(2):126–135Google Scholar
  44. Rodgers LJ, Nicewander WA (1988) Thirteen ways to look at the correlation coefficient. Am Stat 42(1):59–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ruml M, Gregorić E, Vujadinović M, Radovanović S, Matović G, Vuković A, Počuča V, Stojičić D (2017) Observed changes of temperature extremes in Serbia over the period 1961−2010. Atmos Res 183:26–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sen PK (1968) Estimates of the regression coefficient based on Kendall’s tau. J Am Stat Assoc 63:1379–1389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shi YF, Shen YP, Kang E, Li DL, Ding YJ, Zhang GW, Hu RJ (2007) Recent and future climate change in northwest China. Clim Chang 80(3-4):379–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shi J, Cui LL, Wang JB, Du HQ, Wen KM (2018) Changes in the temperature and precipitation extremes in China during 1961-2015. Quat Int.
  49. Song YL, Achberger C, Linderholm HW (2011) Rain-season trends in precipitation and their effect in different climate regions of China during 1961-2008. Environ Res Lett 6:34025CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sun WY, Mu XM, Song XY, Wu D, Cheng AF, Qiu B (2016) Changes in extreme temperature and precipitation events in the Loess Plateau (China) during 1960–2013 under global warming. Atmos Res 168:33–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Thompson DWJ, Wallace JM (2001) Regional climate impacts of the Northern Hemisphere annular mode. Science 293:85–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Voitsekhovich OV, Kanivets V, Onishi Y (2007) The Chernobyl accident and its aquatic impacts on the surrounding area. In: Onishi Y, Voitsekhovich OV, Zheleznyak MJ (eds) Chernobyl-what have we learned? Environmental Pollution, vol 12. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  53. Wang HJ, Chen YN, Xun S, Lai DM, Fan YT, Li Z (2013a) Changes in daily climate extremes in the arid area of northwestern China. Theor Appl Climatol 112:15–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wang SJ, Zhang MJ, Wang BL, Sun MP, Li XF (2013b) Recent changes in daily extremes of temperature and precipitation over the western Tibetan Plateau, 1973-2011. Quat Int 313-314:110–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wang XL, Hou XY, Wang YD (2017) Spatiotemporal variations and regional differences of extreme precipitation events in the Coastal area of China from 1961 to 2014. Atmos Res 197:94–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wang G, Yan DH, He XY, Liu SH, Zhang C, Xing ZQ, Kan GY, Qin TL, Ren ML, Li H (2018) Trends in extreme temperature indices in Huang-Huai-Hai River basin of China during 1961–2014. Theor Appl Climatol 134(1-2):51–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Xu X, Du YG, Tang JP, Wang Y (2011) Variations of temperature and precipitation extremes in recent two decades over China. Atmos Res 101:143–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Xu M, Kang SC, Wu H, Yuan X (2018) Detection of spatio-tempral variability of air temperature and precipitation based on long-term meteorological station observations over Tianshan Mountains, Central Asia. Atmos Res 203:141–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yin H, Sun Y (2018) Characteristics of extreme temperature and precipitation in China in 2017 based on ETCCDI indices. Adv Clim Chang Res 9(4):218–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. You QL, Kang SC, Aguilar E, Yan Y (2008) Changes in daily climate extremes in the eastern and central Tibetan Plateau during 1961-2005. J Geophys Res 113(D07101)Google Scholar
  61. Yu Z, Li XL (2015) Recent trends in daily temperature extremes over northeastern China (1960-2011). Quat Int 380-381:35–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zhai PM, Zhang XB, Wan H, Pan XH (2005) Trends in total precipitation and frequency of daily precipitation extremes over China. J Clim 18(7):1096–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zhang XB, Yang F (2004) RClimDex (1.0) User Manual. Climate Research Branch, Environment Canada, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  64. Zhao XL (2010) Influence of climate change on agriculture in Northeast China in recent 50 years. J Northeast Agric Univ 41(9):144–149 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  65. Zhou LM, Dickinson RE, Tian YH, Fang JY, Li QX, Kaufmann RK, Tucker CJ, Myneni RB (2004) Evidence for a significant urbanization effect on climate in China. PNAS 101:9540–9544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zhou BT, Xu Y, Wu J, Dong SY, Shi Y (2016) Changes in temperature and precipitation extreme indices over China: analysis of a high-resolution grid dataset. Int J Climatol 36:1051–1066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zhu YM, Yang XQ (2003) Relationships between Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and climate variability in China. J Meteorol Res-Prc 61(6):641–654Google Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Agricultural Soil and Water Engineering in Arid and Semiarid Areas of Ministry of EducationNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Water-saving Agriculture in Arid Areas of ChinaNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.College of Water Resources and Architectural EngineeringNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

Personalised recommendations