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Examining the onset of spring in China

TitleExamining the onset of spring in China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsSchwartz, MD, Chen, X
JournalClimate Research
Page range157-164
Date Published05/2002
Call Number582NR

The onset of spring is a critical time in mid-latitude atmosphere-biosphere interactions.Deciduous plants resume growth after winter dormancy, and their activities cause land surfaces tobecome more active agents in energy and mass exchanges. The progress of spring plant developmentdriving these changes can be conveniently monitored by observation of plant life-stage (phenological)events. Thus, phenological data can play a crucial role in understanding and monitoringspringtime vegetation and climate dynamics, especially about potential changes over time. Althoughglobal-scale phenological monitoring is not yet possible, alternative strategies are available to assessthese impacts. In this paper, a simple phenological model, driven by surface-level daily maximumminimumtemperatures is employed as a surrogate measure of the onset of spring in China. Contrastingwith results from similar studies in North America and Europe, the onset of spring plantgrowth in China has no apparent change over 1959–1993. However, during the same period, lastspring frost (–2.2°C) dates have become markedly earlier (by 6 d), with the greatest change occurringin the northeast portions of the country. First autumn frost dates have also become later (by 4 d),especially in north-central China. Combining these 2 changes, the frost period has decreased by 10 dover many northern regions of the country. A shorting frost period is consistent with decreasingdiurnal temperature ranges and day-to-day temperature differences during spring and autumn inChina, reported by previous research.

Climate Research