Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
1 March 2015

Changes in Moisture Flux over the Tibetan Plateau during 1979-2011: Insights from a High-Resolution Simulation-JOC-May2015



Net precipitation [precipitation minus evapotranspiration (P - E)] changes between 1979 and 2011 from a high-resolution regional climate simulation and its reanalysis forcing are analyzed over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and compared to the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) product. The high-resolution simulation better resolves precipitation changes than its coarse-resolution forcing, which contributes dominantly to the improved P -E change in the regional simulation compared to the global reanalysis. Hence, the former may provide better insights about the drivers of P - E changes. The mechanism behind the P - E changes is explored by decomposing the column integrated moisture flux convergence into thermodynamic, dynamic, and transient eddy components. High-resolution climate simulation improves the spatial pattern of P - E changes over the best available global reanalysis. High-resolution climate simulation also facilitates new and substantial findings regarding the role of thermodynamics and transient eddies in P - E changes reflected in observed changes in major river basins fed by runoff from the TP. The analysis reveals the contrasting convergence/divergence changes between the northwestern and southeastern TP and feedback through latent heat release as an important mechanism leading to the mean P - E changes in the TP.

“Changes In Moisture Flux Over The Tibetan Plateau During 1979-2011: Insights From A High-Resolution Simulation-Joc-May2015”. 2015. Journal Of Climate 27: 1876-1893. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00581.1.
Funding Program Area(s)