During the second half of the 20th century, eastern Northwest China experienced a warming and drying climate change. To determine whether this trend has continued or changed during the present century, this study systematically analyzes the characteristics of warming and dry–wet changes in eastern Northwest China based on the latest observational data and World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) collection data. The results show that eastern Northwest China has warmed continuously during the past 60 years with a sudden temperature change occurring in the late 1990s. However, the temperature in the 2000s decreased slowly, and that in the 2010s showed a warming trend. The amount of precipitation began to increase in the late 1990s, which indicates a contemporary climate transition from warm-dry to warm-wet in eastern Northwest China. The contribution of precipitation to humidity is significantly more than that of temperature. Long-term and interannual variations dominate the temperature change, with the contribution of the former much stronger than that of the latter. However, interannual variation dominates the precipitation change. The warming accelerates from period to period, and the temperature spatial consistently increased during the three most recent climatic periods. The precipitation decreased from 1961–1990 to 1981–2010, whereas its spatial consistency increased from 1981–2010 to 1991–2019. The significant warming and humidification which began in the late 1990s and is expected to continue until the end of the 21st century in the medium emission scenario. However, the current sub-humid climate will not easily be changed. The warming could cause a climate transition from warm temperate to subtropical by 2040. The dry-to-wet climate transition in eastern Northwest China could be related to a synergistic enhancement of the East Asian summer monsoon and the westerly circulation. This research provides a scientific decision-making basis for implementing western development strategies, ecological protection, and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin Area as well as that for ecological construction planning and water resource management of eastern Northwest China.
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