Evidence of Warming and Wetting Climate over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Lin Li; Song Yang; Zhenyu Wang; Xide Zhu; Hongyu Tang
November 2010
Arctic, Antarctic & Alpine Research;Nov2010, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p449
Academic Journal
In this study, we apply temperature, precipitation, and other data from 66 Chinese meteorological stations including Xining and Lhasa to analyze the extreme climate events and their impacting factors over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau during the period 1961-2007. We focus on the spatial and temporal features of extreme climate events and their long-term changes over live climate zones of alpine grassland, meadow, and desert areas. Results show that, during the past decades, the changes in climate over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau present trends towards warm and wet conditions. These changes in temperature and precipitation are evident in both seasonal means and extreme events, and the changes in precipitation are apparent in both precipitation amount and number of precipitation days. Clearly, warm and wet events increase, but cold and dry events decrease over the plateau region. Features of the warming climate are relatively consistent in spatial and seasonal distributions, with the most significant changes in winter and autumn and at nighttime. Northern Qinghai exhibits the greatest and most significant decrease in the frequency of extremely low- temperature events. However, the wetting trend shows more distinctive spatial features and is more seasonally dependent. While the trends in both precipitation amount and the number of precipitation days are positive in all climate zones for winter and spring, both positive and insignificant negative trends appear in summer and autumn. The largest decrease in the frequency of severely dry events is found over southeastern Tibet and western Sichuan.


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