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Recent decadal changes in heat waves over China: drivers and mechanisms

Su, Q. and Dong, B. (2019) Recent decadal changes in heat waves over China: drivers and mechanisms. Journal of Climate, 32 (14). pp. 4215-4234. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0479.1


Observational analysis indicates significant decadal changes in daytime, nighttime, and compound (both daytime and nighttime) heat waves (HWs) over China across the mid-1990s, featured by the rapid increase in frequency, intensity, and spatial extent. The variations of these observed decadal changes are assessed by the comparison between the present day (PD) of 1994-2011 and the early period (EP) of 1964-1981. The compound HWs change most remarkably in all three aspects, with frequency averaged over China in the PD tripling that in the EP and intensity and spatial extent nearly doubling. The daytime and nighttime HWs also change significantly in all three aspects. A set of numerical experiments is used to investigate the drivers and physical processes responsible for the decadal changes of the HWs. Results indicate the predominant role of the anthropogenic forcing, including changes in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations and anthropogenic aerosol (AA) emissions in the HW decadal changes. The GHG changes have dominant impacts on the three types of HWs, while the AA changes make significant influences on daytime HWs. The GHG changes increase the frequency, intensity, and spatial extent of the three types of HWs over China both directly via the strengthened Greenhouse Effect and indirectly via land-atmosphere and circulation feedbacks in which GHG-change-induced warming in sea surface temperature plays an important role. The AA changes decrease the frequency and intensity of daytime HWs over Southeastern China through mainly aerosol-radiation interaction, but increase the frequency and intensity of daytime HWs over Northeastern China through AA-change-induced surface-atmosphere feedbacks and dynamical changes related to weakened East Asian summer monsoon.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:83196
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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