• weekend effect;
  • DTR;
  • China

[1] Intense human activity can impact weather and climate in many ways. One possible important consequence is the weekly cycle (so-called weekend effect) in the diurnal temperature range (DTR). The weekend effect is defined as the average DTR for Saturday through Monday minus the average DTR for Wednesday through Friday. In the present study, the weekend effect in the DTR over east China combined with station observations of maximum and minimum temperatures, relative humidity, and total solar irradiance for the period 1955–2000 was analyzed. Results show that the weekend effect in the DTR has the opposite signal between winter (December, January, and February) and summer (June, July, and August). Wintertime DTR tends to have a positive weekend effect (i.e., larger DTR in weekend days compared to weekdays), in association with increased maximum temperature and total irradiance but decreased relative humidity. While summertime DTR displays a much stronger and significantly negative weekend effect (i.e., smaller DTR in weekend days), in association with decreased maximum temperature and total solar irradiance but increased relative humidity and a greater number of rainy days. This study indicates that the DTR difference between weekend and weekdays is predominantly related to weekly changes in the maximum temperature. The weekend effect in the DTR and maximum temperature is also found in the Reanalysis 2 data. The weekend effect in winter is supported by an analogous holiday (Spring Festival) effect. Since the late 1970s, the weekend effect has been enhanced in both winter and summer, concurrent with rapid development and enhanced human activity in China. The direct and indirect effects of human-related aerosols on radiation, cloud, precipitation, and so on, might play an important role in generating the opposite signal in the weekend effect for different seasons. During a dry winter, the reduction of aerosol concentrations may overwhelmingly impact on the DTR through a direct effect, i.e., by increasing total solar irradiance near the surface and raising the daytime temperature and maximum temperature and lowering relative humidity. By contrast, in summer the indirect effect of aerosols, i.e., reduction in precipitation efficiency caused by more numerous and smaller cloud droplets, would largely be responsible for the increased numbers of rainy days, the reduction of the total solar irradiance, and the lowering of the maximum temperature and DTR.