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Journal Article

The long-term trend in the diurnal temperature range over Asia and its natural and anthropogenic causes


Li,  Chao       
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Liu, L., Li, Z., Yang, X., Gong, H., Li, C., & Xiong, A. (2016). The long-term trend in the diurnal temperature range over Asia and its natural and anthropogenic causes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 121, 3519-3533. doi:10.1002/2015JD024549.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-4849-8
Understanding the causes of long-term temperature trends is at the core of climate change studies. Any observed trend can result from natural variability or anthropogenic influences or both. In the present study, we evaluated the performance of 18 climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 on simulating the Asian diurnal temperature range (DTR) and explored the potential causes of the long-term trend in the DTR by examining the response of the DTR to natural forcing (volcanic aerosols and solar variability) and anthropogenic forcing (anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) and aerosols) in the historical period of 1961-2005. For the climatology, the multimodel ensemble mean reproduced the geographical distribution and amplitude of the DTR over eastern China and India but underestimated the magnitudes of the DTR over the Tibetan Plateau and the high-latitude regions of the Asian continent. These negative biases in the DTR over frigid zones existed in most models. Seasonal biases in the DTR pattern from models were similar to the bias in the annual mean DTR pattern. Based on three selected state-of-the-art models, the observed decreasing trend in the DTR over Asia was reasonably reproduced in the all-forcing run. A comparison of separate forcing experiments revealed that anthropogenic forcing plays the dominant role in the declining trend in the DTR. Observations and model simulations showed that GHG forcing is mainly responsible for the negative trends in the DTR over Asia but that anthropogenic aerosol forcing was also behind the decreasing trend in the DTR over China and especially over eastern China. © 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.