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Extreme Precipitation Events on the Loess Plateau of China

Paper Reviewed
Wan, L., Zhang, X.P., Ma, Q., Zhang, J.J., Ma, T.Y. and Sun, Y.P. 2014. Spatiotemporal characteristics of precipitation and extreme events on the Loess Plateau of China between 1957 and 2009. Hydrological Processes 28: 4971-4983.

In introducing a paper of theirs that appeared in Hydrological Processes, Wan et al. (2014) note that "global warming is expected to increase the moisture-holding capacity of the atmosphere (IPCC, 2007) and to intensify hydrological cycles, especially in arid and semiarid regions," citing Held and Soden (2006) and Wang et al. (2012) in this regard, after which they proceed to describe what they learned about the subject in the case of the Loess Plateau of China between 1957 and 2009.

Based on daily precipitation data collected at 89 meteorological stations scattered across the Loess Plateau over the period 1957-2009, the six scientists determined that annual precipitation decreased slightly in the central, southern and eastern parts of the Loess Plateau, which together account for 86% of that region's total area. They also discovered that "regional precipitation in the spring, summer, autumn, wet season, dry season, early flood period, and late flood period also exhibited insignificantly decreasing trends," with only winter showing a small precipitation increase.

Most significantly of all, however, Wan et al. additionally found that the "frequencies of four types of precipitation, i.e. moderate rainfall, heavy rainfall, rainstorms and heavy rainstorms, decreased between the 1960s and the 2000s," refusing to conform to the climate-alarmist claim that all types of extreme weather are becoming both more extreme and more frequent at one and the same time. Out in the real world of nature, and as demonstrated by Wan et al.'s important piece of detective work, one can readily see that it ain't necessarily so!

Held, I.M. and Soden, B.J. 2006. Robust responses of the hydrological cycle to global warming. Journal of Climate 19: 5686-5699.

IPCC. 2007. Climate Change 2007. The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Solomon, S. et al. (Eds.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Wang, L., D'Odorico, P., Evans, J.P., Eldridge, D.J., McCabe, M.F., Caylor, K.K. and King, E.G. 2012. Dryland ecohydrology and climate change: critical issues and technical advances. Hydrological Earth System Science 16: 2585-2603.

Posted 22 December 2014