Spatiotemporal Extremes of Temperature and Precipitation During 1960–2015 in the Yangtze River Basin (China) and Impacts on Vegetation Dynamics

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Recently, extreme climate variation has been studied in different parts of the world, and the present study aims to study the impacts of climate extremes on vegetation. In this study, we analyzed the spatiotemporal variations of temperature and precipitation extremes during 1960–2015 in the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) using the Mann-Kendall (MK) test with Sen’s slope estimator and kriging interpolation method based on daily precipitation (P), maximum temperature (Tmax), and minimum temperature (Tmin). We also analyzed the vegetation dynamics in the YRB during 1982–2015 using Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) datasets and investigated the relationship between temperature and precipitation extremes and NDVI using Pearson correlation coefficients. The results showed a pronounced increase in the annual mean maximum temperature (Tnav) and mean minimum temperature (Txav) at the rate of 0.23 °C/10 years and 0.15 °C/10 years, respectively, during 1960–2015. In addition, the occurrence of warm days and warm nights shows increasing trends at the rate of 1.36 days/10 years and 1.70 days/10 years, respectively, while cold days and cold nights decreased at the rate of 1.09 days/10 years and 2.69 days/10 years, respectively, during 1960–2015. The precipitation extremes, such as very wet days (R95, the 95th percentile of daily precipitation events), very wet day precipitation (R95p, the number of days with rainfall above R95), rainstorm (R50, the number of days with rainfall above 50 mm), and maximum 1-day precipitation (RX1day), all show pronounced increasing trends during 1960–2015. In general, annual mean NDVI over the whole YRB increased at the rate of 0.01/10 years during 1982–2015, with an increasing transition around 1994. Spatially, annual mean NDVI increased in the northern, eastern, and parts of southwestern YRB, while it decreased in the YRD and parts of southern YRB during 1982–2015. The correlation coefficients showed that annual mean NDVI was closely correlated with temperature extremes during 1982–2015 and 1995–2015, but no significant correlation with precipitation extremes was observed. However, the decrease in NDVI was correlated with increasing R95p and R95 during 1982–1994.


This article was originally published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology , volume 136, in 2018.

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