Climate Change Research ›› 2017, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (1): 25-30.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2016.103

Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Study of the Severest Winter of 1670/1671 over China as an Extreme Climatic Event in History

Zhang De’er, Liang Youye   

  1. National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2016-05-30 Revised:2016-07-19 Online:2017-01-30 Published:2017-01-30
  • Contact: Zhang Deer 德二


The winter of 1670/1671 was abnormal severe cold over eastern China. In this study the coldness situation of the winter was reproduced by means of historical literature records using our historical climate data system. A map of coldness records distribution including heavy snow, frost, trees and bamboo freeze injuries, and the maps of the depth of snow cover and of the snow days were plotted. It is shown that the south boundary of river freeze-up reached south to 27°N, which is the most southern location of river freeze-up in historical records of China, and days with snow lying in South China were never seen in the modern times. Based upon the coldness records of places and the critical temperatures necessary for river freeze-up and tree winterkill, the extreme minimum temperatures were deduced quantitatively. It indicateded that the deduced minimum temperature in Hengshan county of Hunan province in January 1671 was -15 ℃ , which is 7 ℃ lower than the absolute minimum temperature record in the modern times (1951-2000). Following the severe winter, there was a large range of severe drought, which is different from the usual climate (a large range of rain in summer), and a hot summer in northern China and middle-lower reach of the Yangtze River. So that a rare great amplitude of temperature occured in that year. 1670/1671 winter was in the Maunder minimum solar activity period. There were few large volcano activities in the world ahead of the severe winter. As for the sea temperature, there was a very strong El Niño event in 1671, and 1670 was a non-El Niño year before the El Ni?o events. This severe winter corresponded to the warmest phase of sea temperature in the equatorial east Pacific Ocean. So, the winter of 1670/1671 is a typical severe winter in the Little Ice Age of China. It is a rare case of severe cold winter with abnormal hot summer, and also a special case of a wide range of severe drought following a severe cold winter.

Key words: extreme climatic event, severe winter, climate disaster, historical climate, 1670/1671 winter

Copyright © Climate Change Research, All Rights Reserved.
Tel: (010)58995171 E-mail:
Powered by Beijing Magtech Co. Ltd