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Study Reveals Decreased Cloud Cover Dominated Rapid Spring Temperature Rise in Central Asia


Central Asia has experienced a faster temperature rise than the global land over the past decades, which has brought unprecedented challenges to the survival and flourishing of life. The role of drivers and their associated underlying mechanisms have been poorly explored.

A research team led by Prof. YUAN Xiuliang from the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated temperature changes in Central Asia over the past 35 years (1980–2014) and evaluated the contributions of different factors to Central Asia's temperature rise.

The results were published in Geophysical Research Letters on Jan. 15.

They used multi-source data, such as Climatic Research Unit (CRU) datasets, Global Climate Model (GCM) projections from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6), as well as the fifth generation of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) atmospheric reanalysis dataset. They adopted CRU and CMIP6 temperature datasets to study temperature changes in CA over the past 35 years (1980–2014) and evaluated the contributions of different factors to the CA temperature. Finally, they attempted to identify the factors responsible for accelerating the warming trend in CA and explain why the spring warming rate is faster than that of global land.

They confirmed a faster warming trend in Central Asia compared to the global land over the period 1980-2014, with values of 0.33°C/decade vs 0.29°C/decade. The result was consistent, even when the study period was extended between 1901–2014 based on the CRU reanalysis, with values of 0.15°C/decade vs 0.10°C/decade. The GCM simulations under both medium-emission (SSP2–4.5) and high-emission (SSP5–8.5) scenarios indicate that CA will likely experience an accelerated warming trend in the future, with the trend continuing until the end of the 21st century.

They found that spring persisted as the season with the highest warming in CA from 1980 to 2014, the warming rate (0.73℃/decade) is higher than other seasons, nearly 3.5 times greater than the past century. Furthermore, spring warming contributed the most to the annual mean temperature at 49.23%. These results show that spring warming has dominated the overall CA temperature rise over the past 35 years.

They found that decreased cloud cover was the main driver of the spring warming in Central Asia. Cloud cover has the largest contribution to spring temperature (40.79%) and is the main factor affecting spring temperature in CA.

This study provides a deep insight into the regional temperature change in Central Asia.

Article link: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023GL107523


LONG Huaping

Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography

E-mail: longhp@ms.xjb.ac.cn

Web: http://english.egi.cas.cn