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CR 90:95-115 (2023)  -  DOI:

Long-term changes in surface air temperature over the Chinese mainland during 1901-2020

Kangmin Wen1,2,3, Guoyu Ren1,4,*, Yuyu Ren4, Lijuan Cao5, Yun Qin1,4, Panfeng Zhang6, Jiajun He1, Xiaoying Xue1, Xiubao Sun7

1Department of Atmospheric Science, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (CUG), Wuhan 430074, PR China
2Fuzhou Meteorological Bureau, Fuzhou 350028, PR China
3Fujian Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Fuzhou 350028, PR China
4National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration (CMA), Beijing 100081, PR China
5National Meteorological Information Center, China Meteorological Administration (CMA), Beijing 100081, PR China
6School of Tourism and Geographical Sciences, Jilin Normal University, Siping 136000, PR China
7State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510301, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The magnitude of long-term surface climate warming over some regions, such as the Chinese mainland, is still uncertain due to the lack of observational data early in the 20th century. In this study, the monthly data series of the average, maximum, and minimum temperatures in the Chinese mainland during 1901-2020 were constructed based on the daily surface air temperature observations from 60 stations across the country, and the characteristics of the average, maximum, and minimum temperature, and diurnal temperature range (DTR) changes were analyzed. Results show that (1) regional average annual mean temperature in the Chinese mainland rose by 0.14°C per decade, maximum temperature rose by 0.07°C per decade, minimum temperature rose by 0.19°C per decade, and DTR decreased by 0.13°C per decade. All these trends are statistically significant (p < 0.01); (2) the largest annual mean maximum temperature increase occurred in spring, followed by winter and autumn/summer, and the largest annual mean minimum temperature increase was in winter and spring, followed by autumn and summer; (3) annual mean DTR decreased significantly at a rate of -0.08, -0.12, -0.12, and -0.13°C per decade (p < 0.01) in spring, summer, autumn, and winter, respectively; (4) the stations with drops in maximum temperature were mainly in Central China, southern North China, the southeastern coastal areas, and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and the stations with significant increases in minimum temperature were located in North China, Northeast China, and Northwest China; (5) the areas with the fastest dropping DTR were mainly located in Northeast China and North China. The maximum and minimum temperature series for China based on climate anomalies are comparable to those based on other currently available datasets.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Surface air temperature · Diurnal temperature range · Trend · Chinese mainland

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Cite this article as: Wen K, Ren G, Ren Y, Cao L and others (2023) Long-term changes in surface air temperature over the Chinese mainland during 1901-2020. Clim Res 90:95-115.

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