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The Extraordinary Rainfall over the Eastern Periphery of the Tibetan Plateau in August 2020

Fund Project:

the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41875112) the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2018YFC1507603)


doi:  10.1007/s00376-021-1134-7

  • A large amount of accumulated precipitation was recorded over the eastern periphery of the Tibetan Plateau (EPTP) in August 2020. Using hourly rain gauge records and the ERA5 reanalysis dataset, we analyzed the unique characteristics of rainfall in August and the accompanying circulation conditions, as well as conducting a comparison with previous data. This record-breaking amount of accumulated rainfall was centered on the northern slope of the EPTP. This location was in contrast with the historical records of the concentration of rainfall over the middle and southern slopes. The hourly rainfall in August 2020 was both more frequent and more intense than the climatological mean rainfall. An amplification effect of the topography was observed, with the precipitation over the EPTP showing a more significant change with terrain height in August 2020. A circulation analysis showed that cold (warm) anomalies existed over the north (south) at approximately 35° N compared with those in the years when the southern EPTP received more rain. The western Pacific subtropical high was more intense and extended to the west, and the low-level cold air from the north was more active. The enhanced low-level southerly winds on the periphery of the subtropical high injected warm-wet air further north than the climatological mean. These winds changed easterly near the northern EPTP and were forced to ascend by the steep terrain.
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Manuscript History

Manuscript received: 05 April 2021
Manuscript revised: 05 August 2021
Manuscript accepted: 23 August 2021
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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The Extraordinary Rainfall over the Eastern Periphery of the Tibetan Plateau in August 2020

Abstract: A large amount of accumulated precipitation was recorded over the eastern periphery of the Tibetan Plateau (EPTP) in August 2020. Using hourly rain gauge records and the ERA5 reanalysis dataset, we analyzed the unique characteristics of rainfall in August and the accompanying circulation conditions, as well as conducting a comparison with previous data. This record-breaking amount of accumulated rainfall was centered on the northern slope of the EPTP. This location was in contrast with the historical records of the concentration of rainfall over the middle and southern slopes. The hourly rainfall in August 2020 was both more frequent and more intense than the climatological mean rainfall. An amplification effect of the topography was observed, with the precipitation over the EPTP showing a more significant change with terrain height in August 2020. A circulation analysis showed that cold (warm) anomalies existed over the north (south) at approximately 35° N compared with those in the years when the southern EPTP received more rain. The western Pacific subtropical high was more intense and extended to the west, and the low-level cold air from the north was more active. The enhanced low-level southerly winds on the periphery of the subtropical high injected warm-wet air further north than the climatological mean. These winds changed easterly near the northern EPTP and were forced to ascend by the steep terrain.

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