Indexed on: 14 Jun '17Published on: 14 Jun '17Published in: Scientific Reports
Climate variability and trends have significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Global challenges such as food security, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and human health are affected by reference evapotranspiration, temperature, solar radiation, and precipitation together, but nonlinear dynamics of these four climatic factors have not been assessed simultaneously at the national scale. This leads to unclear climatic dynamics and limited applications. To address this knowledge gap, we analyzed the daily variability and trends of four climatic factors (reference evapotranspiration, temperature, solar radiation, and precipitation) in China simultaneously using high spatial resolution data from 1960 to 2013. The results indicate that the daily variability of climate system dynamics (quantified by multiplying fractal dimensions of the four climatic factors) in north China was higher than that in south China. For example, the climate system dynamics were more chaotic and with higher nonlinear variation in north China, most notably in Heilongjiang Province, the major grain base of China, posing threats to food security in the context of growing national population. Spatial distribution of variability varies among different climatic factors. Our study highlights the need for a more holistic study of climate variability and trends in other countries with multiple climate types to address challenges of sustainable development.