Projected Changes in Abrupt Shifts Between Dry and Wet Extremes Over China Through an Ensemble of Regional Climate Model Simulations

Huijiao Chen, Shuo Wang, J. Zhu, B. Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The dry-wet abrupt alternation (DWAA) event, which is defined as the phenomenon of dry (or wet) spells abruptly following wet (or dry) spells, magnifies the influence of individual wet and dry events. The dynamic evolution of DWAA events has not been studied for different climate zones of China that is particularly susceptible to dry and wet extremes. This study explores the future changes in the abrupt alternations between dry and wet extremes across 10 climate divisions of China, with a thorough assessment of dry and wet conditions using the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). We take advantage of an ensemble of regional climate model simulations including the Providing Regional Climate Impacts for Studies (PRECIS) experiment and five CORDEX East Asia experiments to produce high-resolution climate information for a baseline period of 1975–2004 and a future period of 2069–2098. Our findings disclose that a total of 70% of China's land area suffered from the DWAA events at least once during 1975–2004. The wet-dry alternation event is projected to become more frequent in summer, and a prominent increase in the number of dry-wet alternation events is expected to occur in spring over most parts of China. Moreover, an increasing number of DWAA events with intensified magnitude is projected to strike the North China Plain dominated by warm temperature and humid zone, which is the most densely populated region of the country and is also the largest agriculture production area. Our findings also reveal a strong positive correlation between DWAA and heavy rainfall. The 95th percentile rainfall event contributes most to the wet-dry alternation event for most climate divisions of China.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JD033894
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020


  • China
  • hydrological extremes
  • regional climate impacts
  • standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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