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Precipitation seasonality and variability over the Tibetan plateau as resolved by the High Asia reanalysis

Maussion, F., Scherer, D., Mölg, T., Collier, E., Curio, J. and Finkelnburg, R. (2014) Precipitation seasonality and variability over the Tibetan plateau as resolved by the High Asia reanalysis. Journal of Climate, 27 (5). pp. 1910-1927. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00282.1


Because of the scarcity of meteorological observations, the precipitation climate on the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding regions (TP) has been insufficiently documented so far. In this study, the characteristics and basic features of precipitation on the TP during an 11-yr period (2001–11) are described on monthly-to-annual time scales. For this purpose, a new high-resolution atmospheric dataset is analyzed, the High Asia Reanalysis (HAR), generated by dynamical downscaling of global analysis data using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The HAR precipitation data at 30- and 10-km resolutions are compared with both rain gauge observations and satellite-based precipitation estimates from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM). It is found that the HAR reproduces previously reported spatial patterns and seasonality of precipitation and that the high-resolution data add value regarding snowfall retrieval, precipitation frequency, and orographic precipitation. It is demonstrated that this process-based approach, despite some unavoidable shortcomings, can improve the understanding of the processes that lead to precipitation on the TP. Analysis focuses on precipitation amounts, type, seasonality, and interannual variability. Special attention is given to the links between the observed patterns and regional atmospheric circulation. As an example of an application of the HAR, a new classification of glaciers on the TP according to their accumulation regimes is proposed, which illustrates the strong spatial variability of precipitation seasonality. Finally, directions for future research are identified based on the HAR, which has the potential to be a useful dataset for climate, glaciological, and hydrological impact studies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
ID Code:69080
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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