CR 43:179-190 (2010)  -  DOI:

Trends in temperature and precipitation on the Tibetan Plateau, 1961–2005

Heli Lu1,2,*, Guifang Liu1

1Institute of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, and College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
2United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama 220-8502, Japan

ABSTRACT: We studied the basic characteristics of temperature and precipitation in different climatic zones of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) from 1961–2005, through statistical and spatial analysis. Over the past 45 yr, annual temperature in the TP increased at a rate of 0.265°C decade–1. The rate of temperature increase in winter was double that of spring in almost all zones and the rate of annual temperature increase was demonstrably higher during 1980–2005 than during 1961–1980 and 1961–2005, suggesting that the rate of warming is accelerating. Annual precipitation showed a slight increase (8.21 mm decade–1) across the whole TP. Short (2 to 4 yr), middle (5 to 8 yr), and long (>10 yr) precipitation cycles were found at 32, 11, and 6 stations, respectively. Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analysis revealed different precipitation cycles between the northern and the southern TP, with the boundary along 33°N. For the period 1961–2005, 46 stations showed a warming-wetting trend; the number of stations showing this trend for 1980–2005 was 34% higher than for 1961–1980, suggesting that a warming-wetting trend will dominate the TP in the future.

KEY WORDS: Tibetan Plateau · Basic characteristics · Climatic zones

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Cite this article as: Lu H, Liu G (2010) Trends in temperature and precipitation on the Tibetan Plateau, 1961–2005. Clim Res 43:179-190.

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