Articles | Volume 4, issue 4
27 Nov 2008
 | 27 Nov 2008

Recent climate change affecting rainstorm occurrences: a case study in East China

M. Domroes and D. Schaefer

Abstract. The paper aims to investigate the occurrences of rainstorms and their relationship with the climate change scenario. The study period under investigation refers to the period of greatest recent warming between 1976–2000 whereas the study area covers China east of 105 E longitude. This region is commonly considered to be controlled by the monsoon type of climate over East Asia.

Positive (increasing) trends of rainstorm occurrences, both in annual and summer respects, have been shown for subtropical China whereas a non-uniform picture is associated with temperate China. The increase of rainstorms in subtropical China corresponds with an increasing trend of precipitation. At the same time, subtropical China experiences a mostly decreasing recent temperature change. No clear evidence could, however, be proved for a direct linkage between increasing temperatures and greater rainstorm occurrences. Within the climate change scenario a great risk of rainstorm occurrences must be regarded as part of the increasing risk of extreme weather events.

Rainstorm occurrences are of a great practical importance as they increase the risk for environmental hazards such as landslides, landslips and floods. Landuse planners must therefore pay a great attention to an increasing number of rainstorms and their adverse risk impact on the environment.

Such practical aspects need particular attention in subtropical China as the region of largest increase of rainstorm occurrences and where, at the same time, the mountains and hilly landscapes are particularly hazard-prone to landslides and floods.