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Ren G.,National Climate Center | Li J.,National Climate Center | Ren Y.,National Climate Center | Chu Z.,Beijing Municipality Meteorological Bureau | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology | Year: 2015

Trends in surface air temperature (SAT) are a critical indicator for climate change at varied spatial scales. Because of urbanization effects, however, the current SAT records of many urban stations can hardly meet the demands of the studies. Evaluation and adjustment of the urbanization effects on the SAT trends are needed, which requires an objective selection of reference (rural) stations. Based on the station history information from all meteorological stations with long-term records in mainland China, an integrated procedure for determining the reference SAT stations has been developed and is applied in forming a network of reference SAT stations. Historical data from the network are used to assess the urbanization effects on the long-term SAT trends of the stations of the national Reference Climate Network and Basic Meteorological Network (RCN+BMN or national stations), which had been used most frequently in studies of regional climate change throughout the country. This paper describes in detail the integrated procedure and the assessment results of urbanization effects on the SAT trends of the national stations applying the data from the reference station network determined using the procedure. The results showed a highly significant urbanization effect of 0.074°C (10 yr)-1 and urbanization contribution of 24.9% for the national stations of mainland China during the time period 1961-2004, which compared well to results that were reported in previous studies by the authors using the predecessor of the present reference network and the reference stations selected but when applying other methods. The authors are thus confident that the SAT data from the updated China reference station network as reported in this paper best represented the baseline SAT trends nationwide and could be used for evaluating and adjusting the urban biases in the historical data series of the SAT from different observational networks. © 2015 American Meteorological Society.

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