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Weather and Climate Effects of the Tibetan Plateau


doi: 10.1007/s00376-012-1220-y

  • Progress in observation experiments and studies concerning the effects of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) on weather and climate during the last 5 years are reviewed. The mesoscale topography over the TP plays an important role in generating and enhancing mesoscale disturbances. These disturbances increase the surface sensible heat (SH) flux over the TP and propagate eastward to enhance convection and precipitation in the valley of Yangtze River. Some new evidence from both observations and numerical simulations shows that the southwesterly flow, which lies on the southeastern flank of the TP, is highly correlated with the SH of the southeastern TP in seasonal and interannual variability. The mechanical and thermal forcing of the TP is an important climatic cause of the spring persistent rains over southeastern China. Moreover, the thermodynamic processes over the TP can influence the atmospheric circulation and climate over North America and Europe by stimulating the large-scale teleconnections such as the Asian-Pacific oscillation and can affect the atmospheric circulation over the southern Indian Ocean. Estimating the trend in the atmospheric heat source over the TP shows that, in contrast to the strong surface and troposphere warming, the SH over the TP has undergone a significant decreasing trend since the mid-1980s. Despite the fact that {\it in situ} latent heating presents a weak increasing trend, the springtime atmospheric heat source over the TP is losing its strength. This gives rise to reduced precipitation along the southern and eastern slopes of the TP and to increased rainfall over northeastern India and the Bay of Bengal.
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Manuscript received: 10 September 2012
Manuscript revised: 10 September 2012
通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
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    沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142

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Weather and Climate Effects of the Tibetan Plateau

  • 1. State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029;State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029;State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029;Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085;National Meteorological Information Centre, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100084

Abstract: Progress in observation experiments and studies concerning the effects of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) on weather and climate during the last 5 years are reviewed. The mesoscale topography over the TP plays an important role in generating and enhancing mesoscale disturbances. These disturbances increase the surface sensible heat (SH) flux over the TP and propagate eastward to enhance convection and precipitation in the valley of Yangtze River. Some new evidence from both observations and numerical simulations shows that the southwesterly flow, which lies on the southeastern flank of the TP, is highly correlated with the SH of the southeastern TP in seasonal and interannual variability. The mechanical and thermal forcing of the TP is an important climatic cause of the spring persistent rains over southeastern China. Moreover, the thermodynamic processes over the TP can influence the atmospheric circulation and climate over North America and Europe by stimulating the large-scale teleconnections such as the Asian-Pacific oscillation and can affect the atmospheric circulation over the southern Indian Ocean. Estimating the trend in the atmospheric heat source over the TP shows that, in contrast to the strong surface and troposphere warming, the SH over the TP has undergone a significant decreasing trend since the mid-1980s. Despite the fact that {\it in situ} latent heating presents a weak increasing trend, the springtime atmospheric heat source over the TP is losing its strength. This gives rise to reduced precipitation along the southern and eastern slopes of the TP and to increased rainfall over northeastern India and the Bay of Bengal.

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