Systematic analyses of the daytime and nocturnal precipitation changes provide a better understand of the impact of global warming on the environment. In this study, the daytime and nocturnal precipitation across China from 1990 to 2019 was analyzed using observational data from 698 meteorological stations. Both daytime and nocturnal precipitation have increased in the western parts of China (including the Continental basin, headwaters of the Yangtze River basin, and Yellow River basin), whereas the trends in the eastern part are more complex. Climatological differences between daytime and nocturnal precipitation in summer were more significant than in other seasons. We developed a Z index to quantify the diurnal differences of precipitation. The annual mean Z index of China is about −2%, and its long-term change on an annual basis increased at a rate of 0.06% yr−1 (p < 0.1). The mean Z-index values during the year and seasons (except for summer) are negative and show an increasing trend. The intensity of the diurnal differences of precipitation has been decreasing in China since 1990. Topographic exposure and distance from the coast also influence the daytime and nocturnal precipitation changes. The Z index of the first-category stations (distance from the coast ≤ 100 km) was positively correlated with the distance from the coast (r = 0.39; p < 0.001) in summer, which may result from the superposition of the summer monsoon and sea-breeze effects.
- daytime and nocturnal precipitation
- precipitation diurnal cycle
- temporal-spatial variations
- climate change