What was responsible for the hottest spring in eastern China in 2018?

October 15, 2020

The spring of 2018 was the hottest on record since 1951 over eastern China. This record-breaking temperature event caused drought, warm winds and serious impacts on agriculture, plant phenology, electricity transmission systems and human health. Both human-induced global warming and anomalous circulation increased the chance of this extreme high-temperature event, according to a new attribution analysis by Dr. Chunhui Lu and Prof. Ying Sun of China Meteorological Administration and their collaborators from the UK Met Office.

The authors published their results in Advances of Atmospheric Sciences, with a call to action against the increasing extreme high-temperature events in China. During this hottest spring, over 900 stations reached their record spring mean temperature; the daily maximum temperatures at 900 stations were higher than 35°C, with the maximum value (41.7°C) observed in Zhejiang Province; and tropical nights (daily minimum temperature > 25°C) appeared in May at 62 stations over eastern China for the first time since meteorological observations began in the early 1950s.

The researchers used a relatively new attribution method to estimate the quantitative contributions from anthropogenic forcing and circulation to the probability of 2018-like high-temperature events. The newly available data from the Hadley Centre event attribution system provided large-ensemble runs and allowed the researchers to estimate the probabilities of a 2018-like event: (1) for springs with high and low correlation circulation patterns relative to the spring of 2018; and (2) with and without the effect of anthropogenic influence.

"Quantitative estimates of the probability ratio show that anthropogenic forcing may have increased the chance of this event by ten-fold, while the anomalous circulation increased it by approximately two-fold," says Prof. Sun. "The persistent anomalous anticyclonic circulation located on the north side of China blocked the air with lower temperature from high latitudes into eastern China, which is the direct dynamical cause. Global warming provides a favorable climate background for the occurrence of this extreme high temperature event."

The researchers also compared the AMIP-based results with those derived from a CMIP-type model--the Canadian Earth System Model. The results showed similar quantitative contributions from human activities and circulation influences, suggesting a robustness to their findings.

"Future work on the event attribution system may be needed to allow us to conduct attribution studies of extreme events more promptly and efficiently," Prof. Sun adds.

Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Related Global Warming Articles from Brightsurf:

The ocean has become more stratified with global warming
A new study found that the global ocean has become more layered and resistant to vertical mixing as warming from the surface creates increasing stratification.

Containing methane and its contribution to global warming
Methane is a gas that deserves more attention in the climate debate as it contributes to almost half of human-made global warming in the short-term.

Global warming and extinction risk
How can fossils predict the consequences of climate change? A German research team from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Alfred Wegener Institute compared data from fossil and marine organisms living today to predict which groups of animals are most at risk from climate change.

Intensified global monsoon extreme rainfall signals global warming -- A study
A new study reveals significant associations between global warming and the observed intensification of extreme rainfall over the global monsoon region and its several subregions, including the southern part of South Africa, India, North America and the eastern part of the South America.

Global warming's impact on undernourishment
Global warming may increase undernutrition through the effects of heat exposure on people, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Yuming Guo of Monash University, Australia, and colleagues.

Global warming will accelerate water cycle over global land monsoon regions
A new study provides a broader understanding on the redistribution of freshwater resources across the globe induced by future changes in the monsoon system.

Comparison of global climatologies confirms warming of the global ocean
A report describes the main features of the recently published World Ocean Experiment-Argo Global Hydrographic Climatology.

Six feet under, a new approach to global warming
A Washington State University researcher has found that one-fourth of the carbon held by soil is bound to minerals as far as six feet below the surface.

Can we limit global warming to 1.5 °C?
Efforts to combat climate change tend to focus on supply-side changes, such as shifting to renewable or cleaner energy.

Global warming: Worrying lessons from the past
56 million years ago, the Earth experienced an exceptional episode of global warming.

Read More: Global Warming News and Global Warming Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.