Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 67 ›› Issue (3): 321-336.doi: 10.11821/xb201203004

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Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Dry Spells in China

LIAO Yaoming1,2, CHEN Deliang3, XIE Yun1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    2. Laboratory for Climate Studies/National Climate Center, CMA, Beijing 100081, China;
    3. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Received:2011-09-14 Revised:2011-11-22 Online:2012-03-20 Published:2012-05-14
  • Supported by:
    The Special Scientific Research Fund of Meteorological PublicWelfare Profession of China, No.GYHY201106018

Abstract: Spatial and temporal distribution and trends of dry days, mean and maximum dry spells, the number of long dry spells (longer than 10 days) which are defined according to precipitation daily thresholds of 0.1 mm, 1 mm, 5 mm and 10 mm, are analyzed systematically using historic daily precipitation data from 1951 to 2010 at 672 stations in China. The results show that precipitation daily thresholds of dry days, mean and maximum dry spells with 0.1 mm, 1 mm, 5 mm and 10 mm and the number of long dry spells with 0.1 mm precipitation daily threshold have become longer from Northwest China to Southeast China and those in winter and autumn are longer than those in spring and summer. The spatial and temporal features of these variables are consistent with climate drought of China. The spatial and temporal features of the number of long dry spells with 1 mm, 5 mm and 10 mm daily precipitation thresholds are similar to those of drought disaster occurrence in China. Long dry spells occur frequently in North China, Yellow-Huaihe river basin, Yangtze-Huaihe river basin and areas south of the Yangtze River, and most of them are observed in spring and summer. The trends of dry days, mean and maximum dry spells with 0.1 mm daily precipitation threshold increase in most parts of China, especially in southern China. But the trends of dry days, mean and maximum dry spells with 1 mm, 5 mm and 10 mm daily precipitation thresholds decrease in most of western China, especially in Northwest China.

Key words: drought, dry spells, spatial and temporal distribution, climate change, China