Changes in record-breaking temperature events in China and projections for the future

Abstract

As global warming intensifies, more record-breaking (RB) temperature events are reported in many places around the world where temperatures are higher than ever before. The RB temperatures have caused severe impacts on ecosystems and human society. Here, we address changes in RB temperature events occurring over China in the past (1961–2014) as well as future projections (2006–2100) using observational data and the newly available simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). The number of RB events has a significant multi-decadal variability in China, and the intensity expresses a strong decrease from 1961 to 2014. However, more frequent RB events occurred in mid-eastern and northeastern China over last 30 years (1981–2010). Comparisons with observational data indicate multi-model ensemble (MME) simulations from the CMIP5 model perform well in simulating RB events for the historical run period (1961–2005). CMIP5 MME shows a relatively larger uncertainty for the change in intensity. From 2051 to 2100, fewer RB events are projected to occur in most parts of China according to RCP 2.6 scenarios. Over the longer period from 2006 to 2100, a remarkable increase is expected for the entire country according to RCP 8.5 scenarios and the maximum numbers of RB events increase by approximately 600 per year at end of twenty-first century.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the National Climate Center (NCC) for making the data available and the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) for archiving the CMIP5 model data. This work is supported by the Huaihe River Meteorology Fund (Grant No.HRM201305), China Clean Development Mechanism Fund (Grant No. 2013028), Climate Change Special Fund (Grant No. CCSF201507), and Anhui Meteorological Bureau Innovation Team Project.

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Correspondence to Chun Liu.

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Deng, H., Liu, C., Lu, Y. et al. Changes in record-breaking temperature events in China and projections for the future. Theor Appl Climatol 133, 307–318 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-017-2149-y

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