Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (4): 496-516.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1612-3

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Changes in air temperature over China in response to the recent global warming hiatus

Qinqin DU(), Mingjun ZHANG*(), Shengjie WANG, Cunwei CHE, Rong MA, Zhuanzhuan MA   

  1. College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2018-10-08 Accepted:2018-12-18 Online:2019-04-25 Published:2019-04-12
  • Contact: Mingjun ZHANG;
  • About author:

    Author: Du Qinqin (1994-), Master Candidate, specialized in global change and sustainable development.E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2013CBA01801;Promotion Project for Young Teachers in Northwest Normal University, No.NWNU-LKQN-15-8


The 1998-2012 global warming hiatus has aroused great public interest over the past several years. Based on the air temperature measurements from 622 meteorological stations in China, the temperature response to the global warming hiatus was analyzed at national and regional scales. We found that air temperature changed -0.221℃/10a during 1998-2012, which was lower than the long-term trend for 1960-1998 by 0.427℃/10a. Therefore, the warming hiatus in China was more pronounced than the global mean. Winter played a dominant role in the nationwide warming hiatus, contributing 74.13%, while summer contributed the least among the four seasons. Furthermore, the warming hiatus was spatial heterogeneous across different climate conditions in China. Comparing the three geographic zones, the monsoon region of eastern China, arid region of northwestern China, and high frigid region of the Tibetan Plateau, there was significant cooling in eastern and northwestern China. In eastern China, which contributed 53.79%, the trend magnitudes were 0.896℃/10a in winter and 0.134℃/10a in summer. In the Tibetan Plateau, air temperature increased by 0.204℃/10a, indicating a lack of a significant warming hiatus. More broadly, the warming hiatus in China may have been associated with the negative phase of PDO and reduction in sunspot numbers and total solar radiation. Finally, although a warming hiatus occurred in China from 1998 to 2012, air temperature rapidly increased after 2012 and will likely to continuously warm in the next few years.

Key words: global warming hiatus, three geographic zones, temperature, China