Variation in surface air temperature of China during the 20th century

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (Impact Factor: 1.42). 01/2011; 73:2331-2344. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.07.007

ABSTRACT The 20th century surface air temperature (SAT) records of China from various sources are analyzed using data which include the recently released Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project dataset. Two key features of the Chinese records are confirmed: (1) significant 1920s and 1940s warming in the temperature records, and (2) evidence for a persistent multidecadal modulation of the Chinese surface temperature records in co-variations with both incoming solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere as well as the modulated solar radiation reaching ground surface. New evidence is presented for this Sun-climate link for the instrumental record from 1880 to 2002. Additionally, two non-local physical aspects of solar radiation-induced modulation of the Chinese SAT record are documented and discussed. Teleconnections that provide a persistent and systematic modulation of the temperature response of the Tibetan Plateau and/or the tropospheric air column above the Eurasian continent (e.g., 30 degrees N-70 degrees N; 0 degrees-120 degrees E) are described. These teleconnections may originate from the solar irradiance-Arctic-North Atlantic overturning circulation mechanism proposed by Soon (2009). Also considered is the modulation of large-scale land-sea thermal contrasts both in terms of meridional and zonal gradients between the subtropical western Pacific and mid-latitude North Pacific and the continental landmass of China. The Circum-global teleconnection (CGT) pattern of summer circulation of Ding and Wang (2005) provides a physical framework for study of the Sun-climate connection over East Asia. Our results highlight the importance of solar radiation reaching the ground and the concomitant importance of changes in atmospheric transparency or cloudiness or both in motivating a true physical explanation of any Sun-climate connection. We conclude that ground surface solar radiation is an important modulating factor for Chinese SAT changes on multidecadal to centennial timescales. Therefore, a comprehensive view of local and remote factors of climate change in China must take account of this as well as other natural and anthropogenic forcings. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Koushik Dutta