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Projected changes in climate extremes in China in a 1.5 oC warmer world Print


      In December 2015, the Paris Agreement was reached in an effort to limit global warming to below 1.5oC. However, there is few scientific literature assessing changes in the climate with 1.5oC of warming over China. We investigated changes in climate extremes in China that generally present high impacts on society. The results indicated that an additional warming of 0.5oC would lead to significant increases in temperature and precipitation extremes across China. Both the temperatures on the hottest days and the frequencies of heat events across China are estimated to be lower when limiting warming to 1.5oC compared to 2.0oC. Events such as the record heat case in the summer of 2013 over eastern China would be approximately 28% less likely to occur if warming was limited to below 1.5oC. Moreover, China would experience reduced precipitation extremes, although this projection is accompanied by a relatively lower confidence level than for changes in temperature extremes. High-impact heavy rain events similar to that in the summer of 2012 over northern China (Beijing) that led to severe urban waterlogging and loss of life would be less likely if there is no more than 0.5oC of warming. Similarly, the odds of wide-ranging severe droughts, as witnessed in the summer of 2014 over north China, are projected to decrease clearly. The positive effects of limiting warming on changes in climate extremes are thus clear, and limiting warming should be encouraged regardless of the political and socio-economic goals of a country.


Chen, H. P., and J. Q. Sun, 2018: Projected changes in climate extremes in China in a 1.5oC warmer world. Int. J. Climatol., doi:10.1002/joc.5221.

【Key figure】


Figure. The change in the extreme hot events over China under different warming scenarios. Panels (a) and (b) show the observed temperature anomalies across China in the summer of 2013 and the associated region averaged anomaly over eastern China (labeled by the box), respectively. Panels (c) and (d) present the associated probability distributions of the model-simulated anomalies for the extreme hot events like that in the summer of 2013 over eastern China under different scenarios. The dashed lines in (c) and (d) show the observed extreme event anomalies that were analysed in this study.