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CR 59:243-257 (2014)  -  DOI:

Effects of the soil freeze-thaw process on the regional climate of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Boli Chen 1,2, Siqiong Luo1,*, Shihua Lü 1, Yu Zhang 1, Di Ma 1

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
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Single-point and regional simulation experiments on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, both with and without consideration of the soil freeze-thaw process, were set up with CLM3.5 and RegCM4 models. Comparison of the simulated soil temperature and moisture, surface energy flux, and upper-lower atmospheric circulation showed that the regional climate can be influenced by the freeze-thaw process of soil. The results indicate that the freeze-thaw process is a buffer to the seasonal changes in soil and near-surface temperatures and strengthens the energy exchange between the soil and the atmosphere. During the freeze (thaw) process, releasing (absorbing) of phase change energy retards the cooling (heating) effect of air temperature on soil. The soil freeze-thaw process increases (decreases) the surface heat source of the plateau in winter (summer), which increases (decreases) the near-surface temperature in winter (summer). Promoted by atmospheric circulation, the soil freeze-thaw process influences climate at the high and low altitudes of the plateau; this may also contribute to the maintenance of the South Asia High. In the early stages of permafrost degradation, the regional climate effects of freezing and thawing may accelerate the degradation of permafrost.

KEY WORDS: Qinghai-Tibet plateau · Soil freeze-thaw process · Regional climate effect · CLM3.5 · RegCM4

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Cite this article as: Chen B, Luo S, Lü S, Zhang Y, Ma D (2014) Effects of the soil freeze-thaw process on the regional climate of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Clim Res 59:243-257.

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