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

Curio, Julia; Scherer, Dieter

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 300 hPa wind speed and wind speed 2 km above ground, the 300 hPa 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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Curio, Julia / Scherer, Dieter: Seasonality and spatial variability of dynamic precipitation controls on the Tibetan Plateau. 2016. Copernicus Publications.

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