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Central Asia’s Changing Climate: How Temperature and Precipitation Have Changed across Time, Space, and Altitude

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Department of Geography, University of Bayreuth, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
2
Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
3
Bayreuth Centre of Ecology and Environmental Research, University of Bayreuth, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2019, 7(10), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7100123
Received: 6 September 2019 / Revised: 10 October 2019 / Accepted: 17 October 2019 / Published: 21 October 2019
Changes in climate can be favorable as well as detrimental for natural and anthropogenic systems. Temperatures in Central Asia have risen significantly within the last decades whereas mean precipitation remains almost unchanged. However, climatic trends can vary greatly between different subregions, across altitudinal levels, and within seasons. Investigating in the seasonally and spatially differentiated trend characteristics amplifies the knowledge of regional climate change and fosters the understanding of potential impacts on social, ecological, and natural systems. Considering the known limitations of available climate data in this region, this study combines both high-resolution and long-term records to achieve the best possible results. Temperature and precipitation data were analyzed using Climatic Research Unit (CRU) TS 4.01 and NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B43. To study long-term trends and low-frequency variations, we performed a linear trend analysis and compiled anomaly time series and regional grid-based trend maps. The results show a strong increase in temperature, almost uniform across the topographically complex study site, with particular maxima in winter and spring. Precipitation depicts minor positive trends, except for spring when precipitation is decreasing. Expected differences in the development of temperature and precipitation between mountain areas and plains could not be detected. View Full-Text
Keywords: Central Asia; climate change; temperature trends; precipitation trends; trend analysis; seasonality Central Asia; climate change; temperature trends; precipitation trends; trend analysis; seasonality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Haag, I.; Jones, P.D.; Samimi, C. Central Asia’s Changing Climate: How Temperature and Precipitation Have Changed across Time, Space, and Altitude. Climate 2019, 7, 123.

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