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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 7, issue 3 | Copyright
Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 767-782, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-767-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 20 Sep 2016

Research article | 20 Sep 2016

Seasonality and spatial variability of dynamic precipitation controls on the Tibetan Plateau

Julia Curio1,a and Dieter Scherer1 Julia Curio and Dieter Scherer
  • 1Chair of Climatology, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • anow at: National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Abstract. The Tibetan Plateau (TP) is the origin of many large Asian rivers, which provide water resources for large regions in south and east Asia. Therefore, the water cycle on the TP and adjacent high mountain ranges, in particular the precipitation distribution and variability play an important role for the water availability for billions of people in the downstream regions of the TP.

The High Asia Refined analysis (HAR) is used to analyse the dynamical factors that influence precipitation variability in the TP region, including the factors resulting in the enhancement and suppression of precipitation. Four dynamical fields that can influence precipitation are considered: the 300hPa wind speed and wind speed 2km above ground, the 300hPa vertical wind speed, and the atmospheric water transport. The study focusses on the seasonality and the spatial variability of the precipitation controls and their dominant patterns. Results show that different factors have different effects on precipitation in different regions and seasons. This depends mainly on the dominant type of precipitation, i.e. convective or frontal/cyclonic precipitation. Additionally, the study reveals that the midlatitude westerlies have a high impact on the precipitation distribution on the TP and its surroundings year-round and not only in winter.

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Using correlation analysis, we examine the influence of selected atmospheric variables, e.g. wind speed and moisture transport, on the precipitation variability over the Tibetan Plateau (TP). We find that different factors have different effects in different regions and seasons and that the midlatitude westerlies have an impact on the precipitation distribution on the TP and its surroundings year-round and not only in winter.
Using correlation analysis, we examine the influence of selected atmospheric variables, e.g....
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