Climate Dynamics

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 859–872

Using a global climate model to evaluate the influences of water vapor, snow cover and atmospheric aerosol on warming in the Tibetan Plateau during the twenty-first century

Authors

    • Department of Environmental SciencesRutgers University
  • James R. Miller
    • Institute of Marine and Coastal SciencesRutgers University
  • Gary L. Russell
    • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  • Ming Xu
    • Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of Sciences
    • Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural ResourcesRutgers University
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-009-0564-1

Cite this article as:
Rangwala, I., Miller, J.R., Russell, G.L. et al. Clim Dyn (2010) 34: 859. doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0564-1

Abstract

We examine trends in climate variables and their interrelationships over the Tibetan Plateau using global climate model simulations to elucidate the mechanisms for the pattern of warming observed over the plateau during the latter half of the twentieth century and to investigate the warming trend during the twenty-first century under the SRES A1B scenario. Our analysis suggests a 4°C warming over the plateau between 1950 and 2100. The largest warming rates occur during winter and spring. For the 1961–2000 period, the simulated warming is similar to the observed trend over the plateau. Moreover, the largest warming occurs at the highest elevation sites between 1950 and 2100. We find that increases in (1) downward longwave radiation (DLR) influenced by increases in surface specific humidity (q), and (2) absorbed solar radiation (ASR) influenced by decreases in snow cover extent are, in part, the reason for a large warming trend over the plateau, particularly during winter and spring. Furthermore, elevation-based increases in DLR (influenced by q) and ASR (influenced by snow cover and atmospheric aerosols) appear to affect the elevation dependent warming trend simulated in the model.

Keywords

Climate change High elevation Tibetan Plateau Global climate model Specific humidity Downward longwave

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009