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A regional climate model (RegCM3) nested within ERA40 re-analyzed data is used to investigate the climate effects of land use change over China. Two 15-year simulations (1987–2001), one with current land use and the other with potential vegetation cover without human intervention, are conducted for a domain encompassing China. The climate impacts of land use change are assessed from the difference between the two simulations. Results show that the current land use (modified by anthropogenic activities) influences local climate as simulated by the model through the reinforcement of the monsoon circulation in both the winter and summer seasons and through changes of the surface energy budget. In winter, land use change leads to reduced precipitation and decreased surface air temperature south of the Yangtze River, and increased precipitation north of the Yangtze River. Land use change significantly affects summer climate in southern China, yielding increased precipitation over the region, decreased temperature along the Yangtze River and increased temperature in the South China area (south-end of China). In summer, a reduction of precipitation over northern China and a temperature rise over Northwest China are also simulated. Both daily maximum and minimum temperatures are affected in the simulations. In general, the current land use in China leads to enhanced mean annual precipitation and decreased annual temperature over south China along with decreased precipitation over North China.
Gao, Xuejie & Zhang, DongFeng & Chen, Zhongxin & Pal, Jeremy & Giorgi, F.. (2007). Land use effects on climate in China as simulated by a regional climate model. Science in China Series D Earth Sciences. vol 50, no 4. 620-628. doi: 10.1007/s11430-007-2060-y.