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Evolution of land surface air temperature trend



The global climate has been experiencing significant warming at an unprecedented pace in the past century1,2. This warming is spatially and temporally non-uniform, and one needs to understand its evolution to better evaluate its potential societal and economic impact. Here, the evolution of global land surface air temperature trend in the past century is diagnosed using the spatial–temporally multidimensional ensemble empirical mode decomposition method3. We find that the noticeable warming (>0.5 K) started sporadically over the global land and accelerated until around 1980. Both the warming rate and spatial structure have changed little since. The fastest warming in recent decades (>0.4 K per decade) occurred in northern mid-latitudes. From a zonal average perspective, noticeable warming (>0.2 K since 1900) first took place in the subtropical and subpolar regions of the Northern Hemisphere, followed by subtropical warming in the Southern Hemisphere. The two bands of warming in the Northern Hemisphere expanded from 1950 to 1985 and merged to cover the entire Northern Hemisphere.

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Figure 1: Spatial evolution of the ensemble empirical mode decomposition trend of global land surface air temperature.
Figure 2: Warming rate of global land surface air temperature.
Figure 3: Evolution of the zonally averaged trend of surface air temperature.

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This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China 2012CB955301 (F.J. and J.H.) as well as the US National Science Foundation program AGS-1139479 (Z.W. and F.J.).

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All authors contributed to shaping up the ideas and writing the paper. The analyses were carried out by F.J. and Z.W., with various analysis methods designed by Z.W., F.J. and Z.W. are co-first authors.

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Correspondence to Zhaohua Wu.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Ji, F., Wu, Z., Huang, J. et al. Evolution of land surface air temperature trend. Nature Clim Change 4, 462–466 (2014).

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