, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 193-203

The characteristics of climate change over the Tibetan Plateau in the last 40 years and the detection of climatic jumps

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Through analyzing the yearly average data obtained from 123 regular meteorological observatories located in the Tibetan Plateau (T-P), this article studies the characteristics of climate change in T-P in the last 40 years. From the distribution of the linear trend, it can be concluded that the southeastern part of T-P becomes warmer and wetter, with an obvious increase of rainfall. The same characteristics are found in the southwestern part of T-P, but the shift is smaller. In the middle of T-P, temperature and humidity obviously increase with the center of the increase in Bangoin-Amdo. The south of the Tarim Basin also exhibits the same tendency. The reason for this area being humid is that it gets less sunshine and milder wind. The northeastern part of T-P turns warmer and drier. Qaidam Basin and its western and southern areas are the center of this shift, in which the living environment is deteriorating. Analyzing the characteristics of the regional average time series, it can be found that in the mid-1970s, a significant sudden change occurred to annual rainfall, yearly average snow-accumulation days and surface pressure in the eastern part of T-P. In the mid-1980s, another evident climatic jump happened to yearly average temperature, total cloud amount, surface pressure, relative humidity, and sunshine duration in the same area. That is, in the mid 1980s, the plateau experienced a climatic jump that is featured by the increase of temperature, snow-accumulation days, relative humidity, surface pressure, and by the decrease of sunshine duration and total cloud amount. The sudden climatic change of temperature in T-P is later than that of the global-mean temperature. From this paper it can be seen that in the middle of the 1980s, a climatic jump from warm-dry to warm-wet occurred in T-P.