Skip to main content

Temperature trend–altitude relationship in China during 1963–2012

Abstract

Based on daily air temperature data from 745 stations in China, the present study investigates the regional characteristics of temperature trend and the dependence of temperature changes on the altitude during the period of 1963–2012. There is a consistent warming trend throughout the country except for the southwest China where a cooling trend is identified. Moreover, significant warming trend exists in highland areas such as the Northeast, Inner Mongol, and the Tibet region. Compared with other seasons, the warming trend is most pronounced in highland regions in winter. In summer, the temperature has no obvious increasing trend in north China, while the cooling trend is found in south China. The relationship between altitude and temperature trend is further investigated by dividing China into three subregions according to the altitude—below 200, 200–2,000, and above 2,000 m. Although there is no simple linear relationship between elevation and warming trend on national scale, the temperature trend–altitude relation is different among the three regions. The temperature trend decreases with altitude below 200 m while increases from 200 to 2,000 m, and a weak positive temperature trend–altitude relation is found over 2,000 m. The strongest temperature trend–altitude relations are found in the subtropical regions, especially pronounced south of 36°N in China. The magnitudes of decreases from 200 to 2,000 m are one order lower than the increases below 200 m. Low-altitude stations appear to be influenced more by anthropogenic aerosols. High-altitude stations are mostly located in flat terrain and sparsely populated region. Therefore, temperature trends change with elevations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Beniston M, Rebetez M (1996) Regional behavior of minimum temperatures in Switzerland for the period 1979–1993. Theor Appl Climatol 53:231–243. doi:10.1007/BF00871739

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Beniston M, Diaz HF, Bradley RS (1997) Climatic change at high elevation sites: an overview. Clim Chang 36:233–251. doi:10.1023/A:1005380714349

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Chen L, Zhu W, Wang W, Zhou X, Li W (1998) Study on climate change in China in recent 45 years. Acta Metall Sin 56:257–271 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Chen W, Liu Y, Ma Z (2002) The seasonal characteristics of climatic change trend in China from 1951 to 1997. Platin Met Rev 21:251–257 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Chen L-X, Zhang B, Zhu W-Q, Zhou X-J, Luo Y-F, Zhou Z-J, He J-H (2009) Variation of atmospheric aerosol optical depth and its relationship with climate change in China east of 100° E over the last 50 years. Theor Appl Climatol 96:191–199

  6. Ding Y et al (2006) National assessment report of climate change: history and future trends of climate change in China. Adv Clim Chang Res 2:3–8

    Google Scholar 

  7. Fan Z-X, Bräuning A, Thomas A, Li J-B, Cao K-F (2011) Spatial and temporal temperature trends on the Yunnan Plateau (Southwest China) during 1961–2004. Int J Climatol 31:2078–2090. doi:10.1002/joc.2214

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Fang J (1992) Study on the geographic elements affecting temperature distribution in China. Acta Ecol Sin 12:97 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  9. He Y, Lu A, Zhang Z, Pang H, Zhao J (2005) Seasonal variation in the regional structure of warming across China in the past half century. Clim Res 28:213–219

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Huang Y, Chameides WL, Dickinson RE (2007) Direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic aerosols on regional precipitation over east Asia. J Geophys Res Atmos 112, D03212. doi:10.1029/2006JD007114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Király A, Jánosi IM (2005) Detrended fluctuation analysis of daily temperature records: geographic dependence over Australia. Meteorog Atmos Phys 88:119–128. doi:10.1007/s00703-004-0078-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Li J, Yu R, Zhou T, Wang B (2005) Why is there an early spring cooling shift downstream of the Tibetan Plateau? J Clim 18

  13. Li X, Zhou D, Fan G, Li H, Hua W, Liu Y (2008) The lag relationship between winter NDVI over Tibetan Plateau and temperature of the Southwest China. J Appl Meteorol 19 (in Chinese)

  14. Liu X, Yin ZY, Shao X, Qin N (2006) Temporal trends and variability of daily maximum and minimum, extreme temperature events, and growing season length over the eastern and central Tibetan Plateau during 1961–2003. J Geophys Res Atmos 1984–2012:111

    Google Scholar 

  15. Liu X, Cheng Z, Yan L, Yin Z-Y (2009) Elevation dependency of recent and future minimum surface air temperature trends in the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings. Glob Planet Chang 68:164–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Lu A, Pang D, He Y, Pang H, Yuan L (2006) Impact of global warming on latitudinal temperature gradients in China. Sci Geol Sin 26:350 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  17. Lu A, Kang S, Pang D, Wang T, Ge J (2008) Different landform effects on seasonal temperature patterns in China. Ecol Environ 17:1450–1452 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  18. Peng B, Zhou Y, Gao P, Ju W (2011) Suitability assessment of different interpolation methods in the gridding process of station collected air temperature: a case study in Jiangsu Province. China J Geo-Inf Sci 4:539–548 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  19. Pepin NC, Lundquist JD (2008) Temperature trends at high elevations: patterns across the globe. Geophys Res Lett 35, L14701. doi:10.1029/2008GL034026

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Price MF, Butt N (2000) Forests in sustainable mountain development: a state of knowledge report for 2000 vol 5. CABI, Oxon, New York

  21. Qian Y, Giorgi F (2000) Regional climatic effects of anthropogenic aerosols? The case of southwestern China. Geophys Res Lett 27:3521–3524. doi:10.1029/2000GL011942

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ren G et al (2005) Climate changes of China’s mainland over the past half century. Acta Metall Sin 63:942–956 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  23. Revadekar JV et al (2013) Impact of altitude and latitude on changes in temperature extremes over South Asia during 1971–2000. Int J Climatol 33:199–209. doi:10.1002/joc.3418

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Santer BD et al (2000) Statistical significance of trends and trend differences in layer-average atmospheric temperature time series. J Geophys ResAtmos 105:7337–7356. doi:10.1029/1999JD901105

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Stocker TF, Dahe Q, Plattner G-K (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Summary for Policymakers (IPCC, 2013)

  26. Thompson LG et al (1997) Tropical climate instability: the last glacial cycle from a Qinghai-Tibetan Ice Core. Science 276:1821–1825. doi:10.1126/science.276.5320.1821

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Wang T, Li S, Zhuang B, Shen F, Liu G (2010) Study on the first indirect climatic effect of sulfate aerosol in China. Scientic Meteorologica Sinica 30:730–740 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  28. Wang P, Tang G, Cao L, Liu Q, Ren Y (2012) Surface air temperature variability and its relationship with altitude and latitude over the Tibetan Plateau in 1981–2010. Adv Clim Chang Res 8:313–319. doi:10.3969/j.issn.1673-1719.2012.05.001 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  29. Wu K, Yang X (2013) Urbanization and heterogeneous surface warming in eastern China. Chin Sci Bull 58:1363–1373. doi:10.1007/s11434-012-5627-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Wu S, Yin Y, Zheng D, Yang Q (2005) Climate change in the Tibetan Plateau during the last three decades. Acta Geograph Sin 60:3–11 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  31. Yang Q, Ma Z, Chen L (2011) A preliminary analysis of the relationship between precipitation variation trends and altitude in China. Atmos Sci Lett 4

  32. Zhai P, Ren F (1997) On changes of China’s maximum and minimum temperatures in the recent 40 years. Acta MetallSin 55 (in chinese)

  33. Zhang YL, Qin BQ, Chen WM (2004) Analysis of 40 year records of solar radiation data in Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou in Eastern China. Theor Appl Climatol 78:217–227. doi:10.1007/s00704-003-0030-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Zheng X, Luo X, Zhao T, Chen J, Kang W (2012) Geographical and climatological characterization of aerosol distribution in China. Scientic Geographica Sinica 32:265–272 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  35. Zhou H, Tang H, Cheng B (2010) Relation between the abnormal snow cover in winter and spring over the Tibetan Plateau and summer precipitation over the Southwest China. J Glaciol Geocryol 32

Download references

Acknowledgement

The authors thank the National Climatic Center of the China Meteorological Administration for providing the meteorological data for this study. This work is supported by National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) under Grant 2012CB955604 and 2011CB309704, Strategic Priority Research Program - Climate Change: Carbon Budget and Relevant Issues of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant XDA05090402), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant41275083 and 91337150), and the Project PAEKL-2014-K2 supported by Open Research Fund Program of Plateau Atmosphere and Environment Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gang Huang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dong, D., Huang, G., Qu, X. et al. Temperature trend–altitude relationship in China during 1963–2012. Theor Appl Climatol 122, 285–294 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-014-1286-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Tibetan Plateau
  • Temperature Trend
  • Aerosol Optical Depth
  • Sichuan Basin
  • Warming Trend