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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 8
Clim. Past, 14, 1135-1145, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1135-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Clim. Past, 14, 1135-1145, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1135-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Aug 2018

Research article | 09 Aug 2018

Variation of extreme drought and flood in North China revealed by document-based seasonal precipitation reconstruction for the past 300 years

Jingyun Zheng1,2, Yingzhuo Yu1,2, Xuezhen Zhang1,2, and Zhixin Hao1,2 Jingyun Zheng et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Abstract. Using a 17-site seasonal precipitation reconstruction from a unique historical archive, Yu-Xue-Fen-Cun, the decadal variations of extreme droughts and floods (i.e., the event with occurrence probability of less than 10% from 1951 to 2000) in North China were investigated, by considering both the probabilities of droughts/floods occurrence in each site and spatial coverage (i.e., percentage of sites). Then, the possible linkages of extreme droughts and floods with ENSO (i.e., El Niño and La Niña) episodes and large volcanic eruptions were discussed. The results show that there were 29 extreme droughts and 28 extreme floods in North China from 1736 to 2000. For most of these extreme drought (flood) events, precipitation decreased (increased) evidently at most of the sites for the four seasons, especially for summer and autumn. But in drought years of 1902 and 1981, precipitation only decreased in summer slightly, while it decreased evidently in the other three seasons. Similarly, the precipitation anomalies for different seasons at different sites also existed in several extreme flood years, such as 1794, 1823, 1867, 1872 and 1961. Extreme droughts occurred more frequently (2 or more events) during the 1770s–1780s, 1870s, 1900s–1930s and 1980s–1990s, among which the most frequent (3 events) occurred in the 1900s and the 1920s. More frequent extreme floods occurred in the 1770s, 1790s, 1820s, 1880s, 1910s and 1950s–1960s, among which the most frequent (4 events) occurred in the 1790s and 1880s. For the total of extreme droughts and floods, they were more frequent in the 1770s, 1790s, 1870s–1880s, 1900s–1930s and 1960s, and the highest frequency (5 events) occurred in the 1790s. A higher probability of extreme drought was found when El Niño occurred in the current year or the previous year. However, no significant connections were found between the occurrences of extreme floods and ENSO episodes, or the occurrences of extreme droughts/floods and large volcanic eruptions.

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We investigated the decadal variations of extreme droughts and floods in North China using a 17-site seasonal precipitation reconstruction from a unique historical archive. Then, the link of extreme droughts and floods with ENSO episodes and large volcanic eruptions was discussed. This study helps us understand whether the recent extreme events observed by instruments exceed the natural variability at a regional scale, which may be useful for adaptation to extremes and disasters in the future.
We investigated the decadal variations of extreme droughts and floods in North China using a...
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