Contributions of Global Warming and Urbanization to the Intensification of Human-Perceived Heatwaves Over China

Dongdong Kong, Xihui Gu*, Jianfeng LI*, Guoyu Ren, Jianyu Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Urbanization and global warming are the two major drivers of the warming environment in cities. The contributions of urbanization and global warming to the past occurrence of human-perceived heatwaves (HWs) over China are evaluated in this study. Both observations and model simulations show HWs have become more intensive, longer-lasting, and more frequent in recent decades. Urbanization and greenhouse gases contribute to 21.9% and 72.9% of the intensification of HWs, respectively. The occurrence probability of observed human-perceived HWs has doubled over 1961–2012 and is projected to be about 4.36/5.92 times under the 1.5/2°C warming relative to the preindustrial level. At the 3.5°C warming, the average duration of HWs is projected to increase to 43.63 days/year, and the occurrence probability is expected to increase by 11.95 times, 91% of which is attributable to human-induced warming. The highest sensitivity of the increases in HWs due to human-induced warming is in Southern China.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019JD032175
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • attributions
  • China
  • global warming
  • human-perceived heatwaves
  • urbanization


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