Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (9): 1341-1368.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1529-2

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles    

Spatiotemporal characteristics of seasonal precipitation and their relationships with ENSO in Central Asia during 1901-2013

Xi CHEN1(), Shanshan WANG2, Zengyun HU1,3, Qiming ZHOU3, Qi HU4   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China
    2. Key Open Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction of CMA, Institute of Arid Meteorology, CMA, Lanzhou 730000, China
    3. Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
    4. School of Natural Resources and Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Received:2018-01-05 Accepted:2018-03-20 Online:2018-09-25 Published:2019-01-11
  • About author:

    Author: Chen Xi, Professor, specialized in hydrology and water resource, as well as environmental remote sensing. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    International Cooperation Fund of Ecological Effects of Climate Change and Land Use/Cover Change in Arid and Semiarid Regions of Central Asia in the Most Recent 500 Years, No.41361140361;The Western Scholars of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.2015-XBQN-B-20;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41471340, No.41605055;Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty Research, No.FRG2/17-18/030


The vulnerable ecosystem of the arid and semiarid region in Central Asia is sensitive to precipitation variations. Long-term changes of the seasonal precipitation can reveal the evolution rules of the precipitation climate. Therefore, in this study, the changes of the seasonal precipitation over Central Asia have been analyzed during the last century (1901-2013) based on the latest global monthly precipitation dataset Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) Full Data Reanalysis Version 7, as well as their relations with El Ni?o- Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Results show that the precipitation in Central Asia is mainly concentrated in spring and summer seasons, especially in spring. For the whole study period, increasing trends were found in spring and winter, while decreasing trends were detected in summer and fall. Inter-annual signals with 3-7 years multi-periods were derived to explain the dominant components for seasonal precipitation variability. In terms of the dominant spatial pattern, Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) results show that the spatial distribution of EOF-1 mode in summer is different from those of the other seasons during 1901-2013. Moreover, significant ENSO-associated changes in precipitation are evident during the fall, winter, spring, and absent during summer. The lagged associations between ENSO and seasonal precipitation are also obtained in Central Asia. The ENSO-based composite analyses show that these water vapor fluxes of spring, fall and winter precipitation are mainly generated in Indian and North Atlantic Oceans during El Ni?o. The enhanced westerlies strengthen the western water vapor path for Central Asia, thereby causing a rainy winter.

Key words: Central Asia, seasonal precipitation, spatiotemporal pattern, ENSO