Climatic Change

, Volume 110, Issue 3–4, pp 783–799 | Cite as

Change-points in climate extremes in the Zhujiang River Basin, South China, 1961–2007

  • Thomas Fischer
  • Marco Gemmer
  • Lüliu Liu
  • Buda Su


In this paper, change-points in time series of annual extremes in temperature and precipitation in the Zhujiang River Basin are analyzed with the CUSUM test. The data cover the period 1961–2007 for 192 meteorological stations. Annual indicators are analyzed: mean temperature, maximum temperature, warm days, total precipitation, 5-day maximum precipitation, and dry days. Significant change-points (1986/87, 1997/98, 1968/69, and 2003/04) are detected in the time series of most of the indicators. The change-point in 1986/87 is investigated in more detail. Most stations with this change-point in temperature indicators are located in the eastern and coastal areas of the basin. Stations with this change-point in dry days are located in the western area. The means and trends of the temperature indicators increase in the entire basin after 1986/87. The highest magnitudes can be found at the coast and delta. Decreasing (increasing) tendencies in total and 5-day maximum precipitation (dry days) are mostly observed in the western and central regions. The detected change-points can be explained by changes in the indices of the Western Pacific subtropical high and the East Asian summer monsoon as well as by change-points in wind directions. In years when the indices simultaneously increase and decrease (indices taking reverse directions to negative and positive) higher annual temperatures and lower annual precipitation occur in the Zhujiang River Basin. The high station density and data quality are very useful for spatially assessing change-points of climatic extreme events. The relation of the change points to large-scale oscillation can provide valuable data for planning adaptation measures against climate risks, e.g. for flood control, disaster preparedness, and water resource management.


East Asian Summer Monsoon Yangtze River Basin East Asian Winter Monsoon Western Pacific Subtropical High Disaster Preparedness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adger WN, Agrawala S, Mirza MMQ, Conde C, O’Brien K, Pulhin J, Pulwarty R, Smit B, Takahashi K (2007) Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 717–743Google Scholar
  2. Barnston A, Livezey R (1987) Classification, seasonality and persistence of low-frequency atmospheric circulation patterns. Mon Weather Rev 115:1083–1126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buishand TA (1982) Some methods for testing the homogeneity of rainfall records. J Hydrol 58:11–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen Y, Takeuchi K, Xu C, Chen Y, Xu Z (2006) Regional climate change and its effects on river runoff in the Tarim Basin, China. Hydrolog Process 20(10):2207–2216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chou C (2004) Establishment of the low-level wind anomalies over the Western North Pacific during ENSO development. J Clim 17:2195–2212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ding Y, Ren G, Shi G, Gong P, Zheng X, Zhai P, Zhang D, Zhao Z, Wang S, Wang H, Luo Y, Chen D, Gao X, Dai X (2007) China’s National Assessment Report on Climate Change (I): climate change in China and the future trend. Adv Clim Change Res 3(Suppl.):1–5Google Scholar
  7. Ding Y, Wang Z, 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
  8. Feng S, Nadarajah S, Hu Q (2007) Modeling annual extreme precipitation in china using the generalized extreme value distribution. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 85(5):599–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fischer T, Gemmer M, Liu L, Su B (2010) Temperature and precipitation trends and dryness/wetness pattern in the Zhujiang River Basin, South China, 1961–2007. Quaternary Int 2010:1–11. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2010.08.010 Google Scholar
  10. Gemmer M, Becker S, Jiang T (2004) Observed monthly precipitation trends in China 1951–2002. Theor Appl Climatol 77:39–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gemmer M, Fischer T, Jiang T, Su B, Liu L (2011) Trends of precipitation extremes in the Zhujiang River basin, South China. J Clim 24(3):750–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hoskins BJ (2003) Atmospheric processes and observations. Phil Trans R Soc Lond A 361:1945–1960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Klein Tank AMG, Zwiers F, Zhang X (2009) Guidelines on—analysis of extremes in a changing climate in support of informed decisions for adaptation. World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Climate Data and Monitoring, WCDMP-No. 72, WMO-TD No. 1500, Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  14. Leung Y, Wu M (2005) Regime shift in summer rainfall in Southern China. In: Seventh joint meeting of seasonal prediction on East Asian summer monsoon, Nanjing, China, 11–13 May 2005. Reprint no. 586, Hong Kong ObservatoryGoogle Scholar
  15. Li J, Zeng Q (2003) A new monsoon index and the geographical distribution of the global monsoons. Adv Atmos Sci 20(2):299–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Li Z, Zheng F, Liu W, Flanagan D (2010) Spatial distribution and temporal trends of extreme temperature and precipitation events on the Loess Plateau of China during 1961–2007. Quaternary Int 226:92–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liu L, Jiang T, Yuan F (2009) Observed (1961–2007) and Projected (2011–2060) Climate Change in the Pearl River Basin. Adv Clim Change Res 5(4):209–214 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  18. Miller AJ, Cayan DR, Barnett TP, Graham NE, Oberhuber JM (1994) The 1976–77 climate shift of the Pacific Ocean. Oceanography 7(1):21–26Google Scholar
  19. Morrill C, Overpeck JT, Cole JE (2003) A synthesis of abrupt changes in the Asian summer monsoon since the last deglaciation. Holocene 13(4):465–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Qian W, Lin X (2005) Regional trends in recent temperature indices in China. Meteorol Atmos Phys 90:193–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Qian W, Lin X, Zhu Y, Xu Y, Fu J (2007) Climatic regime shift and decadal anomalous events in China. Clim Change 84:167–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ren G, Chu Z, Zhou Y, Xu M, Wang Y, Tan G, Zhai P, Shao X et al (2005a) Recent progresses in studies of regional temperature changes in China. Chin J Clim Environ Res 10(4):702–716 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  23. Ren G, Xu M, Chu Z, Guo J, Li Q, Liu X, Wang Y (2005b) Changes of surface air temperature in China during 1951–2004. Chin J Clim Environ Res 10(4):717–727 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  24. Seidel DJ, Lanzante JR (2004) An assessment of three alternatives to linear trends for characterizing global atmospheric temperature changes. J Geophys Res 109:D14108. doi: 10.1029/2003JD004414 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Si D, Ding Y, Liu Y (2009) Decadal northward shift of the Meiyu belt and the possible cause. Chin Sci Bull 54:4742–4748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Song F, Hu Q, Qian W (2004) Quality control of daily meteorological data in China, 1951–2000: a new dataset. Int J Climatol 24:853–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Su B, Jiang T, Jin W (2005) Recent trends in observed temperature and precipitation extremes in the Yangtze River basin, China. Theor Appl Climatol 83(2006):139–151Google Scholar
  28. Su B, Kundzewicz Z, Jiang T (2008) Simulation of extreme precipitation over the Yangtze River Basin using Wakeby distribution. Theor Appl Climatol 96(2009):209–219Google Scholar
  29. Taylor WA (2000) Change-point analysis: a powerful new tool for detecting changes. Available at:
  30. Trenberth KE, Jones PD, Ambenje P, Bojariu R, Easterling D, Klein Tank A, Parker D, Rahimzadeh F, Renwick JA, Rusticucci M, Soden B, Zhai P (2007) Observations: surface and atmospheric climate change. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  31. Wilks DS (2006) Statistical methods in the atmospheric sciences, 2nd edn., International Geophysics Series, Vol. 91, Academic Press, p 627Google Scholar
  32. Yang T, Shao Q, Hao Z-C, Chen X, Zhang Z, Xu C-Y, Sun L (2010) Regional frequency analysis and spatio-temporal pattern characterization of rainfall extremes in the Pearl River Basin, China. J Hydrol 380(3–4):386–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yin Z, Cai Y, Zhao X, Chen X (2009) An analysis of the spatial pattern of summer persistent moderate-to-heavy rainfall regime in Guizhou Province of Southwest China and the control factors. Theor Appl Climatol 97:205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. You L, Dai X, Qiu H (2010) Analysis on annual mean temperature abrupt change of inner Mongolia during 1961—2006. Meteorol J Inner Mongolia 2010-02. doi: CNKI:SUN:NMQX.0.2010-02-003
  35. Yu S, Shi X, Lin X (2009) Interannual variation of East Asian summer monsoon and its impacts on general circulation and precipitation. J Geophys Res 19:67–80Google Scholar
  36. Zhai P, Zhang X, Wan H, Pan X (2005) Trends in total precipitation and frequency of daily precipitation extremes over China. J Clim 18:1096–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhai J, Su B, Krysanova V, Vetter T, Gao C, Jiang T (2009) Spatial variation and trends in PDSI and SPI indices and their relation to streamflow in 10 large regions of China. J Clim 23:649. doi: 10.1175/2009JCLI2968.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhang Q, Xu C, Becker S, Zhang ZX, Chen YD, Coulibaly M (2009a) Trends and abrupt changes of precipitation maxima in the Pearl River basin, China. Atmos Sci Lett 10(2):132–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhang Q, Xu C, Zhang Z (2009b) Observed changes of drought/wetness episodes in the Pearl River basin, China, using the standardized precipitation index and aridity index. Theor Appl Climatol 98:89–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhao F, Xu Z, Huang J (2007) Long-term trend and abrupt change for major climate variables in the upper Yellow River Basin. Acta Meteorol Sin 21:204–214Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Fischer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marco Gemmer
    • 1
  • Lüliu Liu
    • 1
  • Buda Su
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.National Climate CenterChina Meteorological AdministrationBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Nanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations