Climatic warming in China during 1901-2015 based on an extended dataset of instrumental temperature records

Lijuan Cao, Zhongwei Yan, Ping Zhao, Yani Zhu, Yu Yu, Guoli Tang, Philip Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Monthly mean instrumental surface air temperature (SAT) observations back to the nineteenth century in China are synthesized from different sources via specific quality-control, interpolation, and homogenization. Compared with the first homogenized long-term SAT dataset for China by Cao et al. (2013), which contained 18 stations mainly located in the middle and eastern part of China, the present dataset includes homogenized monthly SAT series at 32 stations, with an extended coverage especially towards western China. Missing values are interpolated by using observations at nearby stations including those from neighboring countries. Cross validation shows that the mean bias error (MBE) is generally small and falls between 0.45°C and -0.35°C. Multiple homogenization methods and available metadata are applied to assess the consistency of the time series and to adjust inhomogeneity biases. The homogenized annual mean SAT series show a range of trends between 1.1 and 4.0°C/century in northeastern China, between 0.4 and 1.9°C/century in southeastern China, and between 1.4 and 3.7°C/century in western China to the west of 105E (from the beginning years of the stations to 2015). The unadjusted data include unusually warm records during the 1940s and hence tend to underestimate the warming trends at a number of stations. The mean SAT series for China based on the Climate Anomaly Method shows a warming trend of 1.56°C/century during 1901-2015, larger than those based on other currently available datasets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number064005
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Early online date24 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2017

Cite this