ZHAO Peng, HE Zhibin, MA Dengke, WANG Wen, QIAN Lihui. 2024: Temperature trends and its elevation-dependent warming over the Qilian Mountains. Journal of Mountain Science, 21(2): 500-510. DOI: 10.1007/s11629-023-8449-z
Citation: ZHAO Peng, HE Zhibin, MA Dengke, WANG Wen, QIAN Lihui. 2024: Temperature trends and its elevation-dependent warming over the Qilian Mountains. Journal of Mountain Science, 21(2): 500-510. DOI: 10.1007/s11629-023-8449-z

Temperature trends and its elevation-dependent warming over the Qilian Mountains

  • Understanding temperature variability especially elevation dependent warming (EDW) in high-elevation mountain regions is critical for assessing the impacts of climate change on water resources including glacier melt, degradation of soils, and active layer thickness. EDW means that temperature is warming faster with the increase of altitude. In this study, we used observed temperature data during 1979-2017 from 23 meteorological stations in the Qilian Mountains (QLM) to analyze temperature trend with Mann-Kendall (MK) test and Sen's slope approach. Results showed that the warming trends for the annual temperature followed the order of T_min > T_mean > T_max and with a shift both occurred in 1997. Spring and summer temperature have a higher increasing trend than that in autumn and winter. T_mean shifts occurred in 1996 for spring and summer, in 1997 for autumn and winter. T_max shifts occurred in 1997 for spring and 1996 for summer. T_min shifts occurred in 1997 for spring, summer and winter as well as in 1999 for autumn. Annual mean diurnal temperature range (DTR) shows a significant decreasing trend (–0.18℃/10a) from 1979 to 2017. Summer mean DTR shows a significant decreasing trend (–0.26℃/10a) from 1979 to 2017 with a shift occurred in 2010. After removing longitude and latitude factors, we can learn that the warming enhancement rate of average annual temperature is 0.0673℃/km/10a, indicating that the temperature warming trend is accelerating with the continuous increase of altitude. The increase rate of elevation temperature is 0.0371℃/km/10a in spring, 0.0457℃/km/10a in summer, 0.0707℃/km/10a in autumn, and 0.0606℃/km/10a in winter, which indicates that there is a clear EDW in the QLM. The main causes of warming in the Qilian Mountains are human activities, cloudiness, ice-snow feedback and El Nino phenomenon.
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