Articles | Volume 31, issue 5
Regular paper
03 May 2013
Regular paper |  | 03 May 2013

Variability and trend of diurnal temperature range in China and their relationship to total cloud cover and sunshine duration

X. Xia

Abstract. This study aims to investigate the effect of total cloud cover (TCC) and sunshine duration (SSD) in the variation of diurnal temperature range (DTR) in China during 1954–2009. As expected, the inter-annual variation of DTR was mainly determined by TCC. Analysis of trends of 30-year moving windows of DTR and TCC time series showed that TCC changes could account for that of DTR in some cases. However, TCC decreased during 1954–2009, which did not support DTR reduction across China. DTRs under sky conditions such as clear, cloudy and overcast showed nearly the same decreasing rate that completely accounted for the overall DTR reduction. Nevertheless, correlation between SSD and DTR was weak and not significant under clear sky conditions in which aerosol direct radiative effect should be dominant. Furthermore, 30–60% of DTR reduction was associated with DTR decrease under overcast conditions in south China. This implies that aerosol direct radiative effect appears not to be one of the main factors determining long-term changes in DTR in China.