Projected Shifts in Köppen Climate Zones over China and Their Temporal Evolution in CMIP5 Multi-Model Simulations

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Qigang Wu, Duo Chan, Guixiang Jiang and Xianglin Dai, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
This study uses CMIP5 multi-model ensemble projections to calculate Köppen-Geiger climate classifications and changes in China from 1990 to 2100. The projected climate types would shift toward warmer climate types from current climate distribution, changes are characterized by pronounced retreat of alpine (ET) climate type on the Tibetan Plateau, disappearance of sub-polar continental winter dry (Dwc) over Northeast China, expansion of temperate (C-type) climate over eastern China.

Projected climate shifts are time-dependent. Large climate shifts are already detected in transition regions (7.5% of total land area) around 2010, including rapid replacement of mixed forest (Dwb) by deciduous forest (Dwa) over Northeast China and strong shrinkage of ET on the Tibetan Plateau, weak northward expansion of subtropical winter-dry (Cwa) over eastern China and contract of oceanic climate (Cwb) in Southwest China. Reduction of Dwb in Northeast China and ET on the Tibetan Plateau accelerates substantially during 2010-2030 under all scenarios. Half of the total area occupied by ET in 1990 is projected to be redistributed by 2040. Under the RCP 8.5 scenario, Dwc over Northeast China disappears by 2040-2050, ET on the Tibetan Plateaus disappears by 2070, shift of subtropical humid (Cfa) climate to Cwa over large parts of southeastern China occurs after 2050 due to decreasing wintertime precipitation, and the coverage of C-type climate increases about 7.6% by 2090. Under the RCP2.6, 4.5, 6 and 8.5 emissions pathways, climate types in 22.8%, 39.0%, 46.4% and 52.6% of China’s land area change by 2100, primarily following simulated warming changes.