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Observed changes in temperature and precipitation over Asia, 1901−2020

Guoyu Ren*, Yunjian Zhan, Yuyu Ren, Kangmin Wen, Yingxian Zhang, Xiubao Sun, Panfeng Zhang, Xiang Zheng, Yun Qin, Siqi Zhang, Jiajun He

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Asia is the largest continent of the world, and home to 4.7 billion people; climate change on this continent therefore attracts a significant amount of attention from scientists and policy-makers. However, observational studies of long-term climate change over the continent as a whole are lacking. Based on updated, homogenized, observational data, as well as the systematic-bias-adjusted data of the observational stations in China after 1950, we analyzed the long-term trends of surface air temperature (SAT) and precipitation in Asia and China from 1901 to 2020. The results show that: (1) in the 120 yr between 1901 and 2020, the annual mean SAT rose significantly at rates of 0.13 ± 0.01 and 0.14 ± 0.03°C decade–1 in Asia and China, respectively. The year 2020 in Asia may have been the warmest year since the beginning of the 20th century. (2) Since 1901, in both Asia and China, the annual mean minimum temperature increased more than twice as fast as the maximum temperature, and the diurnal temperature range (DTR) dropped significantly. (3) From 1901 to 2019, the annual precipitation anomaly percentage in Asia showed a significant increasing trend of an average rate of 0.52 ± 0.10% decade–1, and the increase was more obvious in high latitudes than in low to mid latitudes. (4) Since 1901, there has been no significant change in annual precipitation in China, but there was a weak decrease in the first half of the 20th century and a significant increase after that. The results presented in this paper can help understand the spatio-temporal pattern and causes of climate change in the Asian continent and Chinese mainland.