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Decadal Climatic Variability, Trends, and Future Scenarios for the North China Plain

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  • 1 CSIRO Land and Water, Wembley, Western Australia, Australia
  • | 2 Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

Observed decadal climatic variability and trends for the north China plain (NCP) are assessed for significance with Kendall’s test and discussed in light of future climate scenarios from multi-GCM outputs from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The results indicate that the NCP has become warmer and drier over the last four decades. The annual precipitation has declined by about 43.9 mm (6.7%, although not statistically significant), and the annual means of daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures have increased by 0.83°, 0.18°, and 1.46°C, respectively, during the past 40 yr. Both trends for annual means of daily mean and minimum temperatures are statistically significant. The future climate of the NCP is projected to be warmer and, with less confidence, wetter. However, streamflow could decline under these projections, based on the results of the two-parameter climate elasticity of streamflow index. This will produce serious challenges for water resources management and likely lead to exacerbated problems for agriculture, industry, urban communities, and the environment.

Corresponding author address: Guobin Fu, CSIRO Land and Water, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia. Email: guobin.fu@csiro.au

Abstract

Observed decadal climatic variability and trends for the north China plain (NCP) are assessed for significance with Kendall’s test and discussed in light of future climate scenarios from multi-GCM outputs from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The results indicate that the NCP has become warmer and drier over the last four decades. The annual precipitation has declined by about 43.9 mm (6.7%, although not statistically significant), and the annual means of daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures have increased by 0.83°, 0.18°, and 1.46°C, respectively, during the past 40 yr. Both trends for annual means of daily mean and minimum temperatures are statistically significant. The future climate of the NCP is projected to be warmer and, with less confidence, wetter. However, streamflow could decline under these projections, based on the results of the two-parameter climate elasticity of streamflow index. This will produce serious challenges for water resources management and likely lead to exacerbated problems for agriculture, industry, urban communities, and the environment.

Corresponding author address: Guobin Fu, CSIRO Land and Water, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia. Email: guobin.fu@csiro.au

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