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WIREs Clim Change
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Reconstruction of high‐resolution climate data over China from rainfall and snowfall records in the Qing Dynasty

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In recent years, researchers studying historical climates have given an increasing amount of attention to the Yu‐Xue‐Fen‐Cun record of the Qing Dynasty of China. These records play an important role in the quantitative reconstruction of the climate from the past 300 years in China due to their uniform recording formats and measurement methods. As a result of collective effort, methods for climate reconstruction are constantly improving, and regions with reconstructed high‐resolution historical climate data are expanding. This study reviews the features of the Yu‐Xue‐Fen‐Cun record and summarizes the progress and primary results achieved over the past 20 years. Studies showed that temperature variations over eastern China had three stages: a relatively cold phase in the 18th century, the coldest phase in the 19th century, and the warmest phase during and after the 20th century. However, the amplitudes between the maximum and minimum temperatures differed from 4.2 to 5.7 °C among different regions and sites. The variation in annual precipitation in North China showed an opposite phase to the Meiyu rainfall in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in the periods of 1736–1767, 1916–1948, and after 1955, and a consistent phase in the periods of 1792–1836 and 1845–1885. The rainband regularly moved away from South China in early May to the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in mid‐June, and then finally arrived in North China in early July. This article is categorized under: Paleoclimates and Current Trends > Modern Climate Change
The 273 administrative sites where the Yu‐Xue‐Fen‐Cun record existed during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), and the regions or sites where the time series for (a) precipitation and (b) temperature were reconstructed
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Reconstructed curves for winter (December to February) temperature anomalies in (a) Xi'an and (b) Hanzhong from 1736 to 1999 (Zheng et al., ), (c) the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River from 1736 to 2007 (Hao et al., ), and (d) South China from 1736 to 2009 (Ding et al., ). The broad lines represent the 11‐year running means
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Comparison of the 10‐year averages of the start dates for the rainy season in Beijing (blue), Nanjing (red), and Fuzhou (black)
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Comparison of (a) the annual precipitation in North China (Zheng et al., ) and (b) the Meiyu rainfall in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River (Ge et al., ) during 1736–2000. Broader lines represent the 10‐year fast Fourier transformation low pass filtering and the dashed line represents the mean value
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The 1953–2015 mean daily precipitation between May and September in (a) Fuzhou in South China, (b) Nanjing in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and (c) Beijing in North China (http://data.cma.cn/dataService/cdcindex/datacode/SURF_CLI_CHN_MUL_DAY). The broader lines represent the 5‐day running average values
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Examples of Yu‐Xue‐Fen‐Cun memos (Ge et al., ), including (a) Yu‐Fen‐Cun record reported by Bin Gao, Governor General of Zhili Province, where the content states that from right to left “…On June 23 (second day of the fifth month in lunar calendar), Yongping Fu: Linyu County 3 cuns; on June 24, Jizhou Fu: Xinhe County 3 cuns; on July 7, Shuntian Fu: Wenan County 1.5 cuns”; and the red postil by Emperor Qianlong states “I see the capital Beijing was not in severe drought, but I still expect rainfall”; (b) the Xue‐Fen‐Cun record reported by Bin Gao, Governor General of Zhili Province, where the content states that from right to left “On Dec 26 (eleventh day of the eleventh month in the lunar calendar), Zhengding Fu: Gaocheng County 3 cuns; Jinzhou County 2 cuns … Shenzhou County 1 cun,” and the postil by Emperor Qianlong states “read it”; and (c) a qualitative description of precipitation reported by Ji Xu, Governor General of Shandong, where the content states that “Some counties such as Licheng received rain in the middle of the fifth month, which has reported by me before. Recently, more than 50 counties of ten‐Fus, such as Changqing County that received rain again with 2, 3, 4, to 5, 6 cuns … However, the nearby Licheng County of Ji'nan Fu did not receive enough rain, and the farmers were expecting rainfall. Now, in the ninth day of the sixth month (9/7), the rain started from HaiShi (Chinese ancient time, 9:00 p.m.−11:00 p.m.) to the next WuShi (11:00 a.m.−1:00 p.m.) in Licheng county; it was in time and has penetrated into the arable soil,” and the red postil by the Emperor states, “It's great to hear about this report”
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