Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (4): 479-496.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1854-8

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Spatial and temporal variabilities of rainstorms over China under climate change

HUANG Chang1,2,3, ZHANG Shiqiang1,2,3, DONG Linyao4, WANG Zucheng5, LI Linyi6, CUI Luming3   

  1. 1. Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China;
    2. Institute of Earth Surface System and Hazards, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China;
    3. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China;
    4. Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute, Wuhan 430010, China
    5. State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Vegetation Restoration, Institute for Peat & Mire Research, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130021, China;
    6. School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430070, China
  • Received:2020-04-28 Accepted:2020-12-23 Online:2021-04-25 Published:2021-06-25
  • About author:Huang Chang (1986–), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in hydrological remote sensing. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China, No(2017YFC1502501);National Key Research and Development Program of China, No(2017YFC0404302);National Natural Science Foundation of China, No(41501460)


Rainstorms are one of the extreme rainfall events that cause serious disasters, such as urban flooding and mountain torrents. Traditional studies have used rain gauge observations to analyze rainstorm events, but relevant information is usually missing in gauge-sparse areas. Satellite-derived precipitation datasets serve as excellent supplements or substitutes for the gauge observations. By developing a grid-based rainstorm-identification tool, we used the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) time series product to reveal the spatial and temporal variabilities of rainstorms over China during 1998-2017. Significant patterns of both increasing and decreasing rainstorm occurrences were detected, with no spatially uniform trend being observed across the whole country. There was an increase in the area being affected by rainstorms during the 20-year period, with rainstorm centers shifting along the southwest-northeast direction. Rainstorm occurrence was found to be correlated with local total precipitation. By comparing rainstorm occurrence with climate variables such as the El Ni?o-Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation, we also found that climate change was likely to be the primary reason for rainstorm occurrence in China. This study complements previous studies that used gauge observations by providing a better understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of China’s rainstorms.

Key words: climate change, extreme precipitation, meteorology, rainfall, satellite precipitation data