Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 971-983.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1668-0

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Spatial-temporal variations in cold surge events in northern China during the period 1960-2016

Wenlan GAO, Keqin DUAN*(), Shuangshuang LI   

  1. School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China
  • Received:2018-05-29 Accepted:2018-12-22 Online:2019-06-25 Published:2019-06-25
  • Contact: Keqin DUAN
  • About author:

    Author: Gao Wenlan (1985-), PhD, specialized in global change and extreme climatic events. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571062, No.41701592


Among the most devastating extreme weather events, cold surge (CS) events frequently impact northern China. It has been reported that extreme weather events will increase in the global warming context. However, the direct evidence of this hypothesis is limited. Here, we investigated the changes in frequency, number, duration, and temperature of CS events in northern China using the daily minimum temperature dataset of 331 stations from 1960 to 2016. The results indicate that the annual CS events in terms of frequency and number decreased, and the duration shortened as the starting date was later and the ending date earlier. Meanwhile, the annual CS temperature increased. In addition, spatial trends in the CS events in terms of frequency, number, and duration decreased while the CS temperature increased in most regions of northern China. We interpreted these variations as a response to global warming. However, the extreme CS events in terms of frequency, number and the earliest starting date and the latest ending date showed little change though the extreme CS temperature increased, implying climate warming had not limited extreme CS events. The adverse effect of CS events on agriculture and human health remain concerning.

Key words: cold surge, frequency, number, duration, temperature, northern China