Articles | Volume 23, issue 7
14 Oct 2005
 | 14 Oct 2005

Long-term trends in solar radiation and the associated climatic factors over China for 1961-2000

F. Liang and X. A. Xia

Abstract. Long-term trends in downwelling solar irradiance and associated climatic factors over China are studied in the paper. Decreasing trends in global and direct radiation are observed over much of China. The largest decrease occurs in South and East China (east of about 100° E and south of about 40° N). The spatial pattern of observed trends in diffuse irradiance is complex and inhomogeneous. An intriguing aspect of trends in global and direct irradiance is the rather abrupt decrease in annual and seasonal mean values from 1978 onward. The decreasing trends in solar radiation in China did not persist into the 1990s. The spatial and temporal patterns of trends in sunshine duration are consistent with that of global and direct irradiance. A decreasing trend in rainy days is observed over much of China, which is in agreement with the secular trend in cloud amount. The fact that trends in cloud amount and solar radiation are quite similar suggests that the cloud amount is not the primary cause for the decrease in solar radiation. Visibility in the eastern part of China has deteriorated heavily as a result of the rapid increase in aerosol loading. The statistical analysis showed that atmospheric transmission under clear conditions decreased rapidly. These facts suggest that the rapid increase in aerosol loading should be one of the principle causes for the decrease in solar radiation. The observed diurnal temperature range decreases remarkably in China, which is closely related to the increase in aerosols. The effects of anthropogenic air pollutants on climate should be further studied and included in the simulation of climate and projection of climate scenario.

Keywords. Atmospheric composition and structure (Aerosol and particles; General or miscellaneous) – Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (Radiative processes)