CR 67:241-255 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01371

Frozen ground temperature trends associated with climate change in the Tibetan Plateau Three River Source Region from 1980 to 2014

Siqiong Luo1,*, Xuewei Fang1,2, Shihua Lyu1,3, Di Ma1, Yan Chang1, Minghong Song1, Hao Chen1

1Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, PR China
2University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, PR China
3Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chengdu 610225, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Long-term (1981-2014) trends in soil temperatures at depths ranging from 0-320 cm were used to examine relationships between regional climate change and soil temperatures in the Three River Source Region (TRSR) of the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Air temperature, precipitation, maximum depth of frozen ground and maximum snow depth were also analysed for trends and for correlations with soil temperatures. A significant warming trend was evident in the TRSR during the 35 yr analysed. Significant soil warming was detected, at rates of 0.706°C decade-1 for surface soils (0 cm), 0.477°C decade-1 for shallow layer soils (5-20 cm) and 0.417°C decade-1 for deep layer soils (40-320 cm). There was a clear effect of air temperature on soil temperature, as seen from the concurrent significant increases in air and soil temperature trends and the strong correlation between them. The relationship between precipitation and soil temperatures was complicated. Higher levels of precipitation on the ground also resulted in higher soil temperatures during the summer in the frozen soil, while the process of freezing and thawing had an inhibitory effect on the soil temperature increase. The warming trends in soil temperature are expected to continue with the degradation of frozen soil in the TRSR.


KEY WORDS: Soil temperature trends · Frozen ground · Air temperature · Three River Source Region · Tibetan Plateau


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Cite this article as: Luo S, Fang X, Lyu S, Ma D, Chang Y, Song M, Chen H (2016) Frozen ground temperature trends associated with climate change in the Tibetan Plateau Three River Source Region from 1980 to 2014. Clim Res 67:241-255. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01371

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