Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 18–30 | Cite as

Interannual and decadal variations of snow cover over Qinghai-Xizang Plateau and their relationships to summer monsoon rainfall in China

  • Chen Lieting
  • Wu Renguang


Interannual and decadal variations of winter snow cover over the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau (QXP) are analyzed by using monthly mean snow depth data set of 60 stations over QXP for the period of 1958 through 1992. It is found that the winter snow cover over QXP bears a pronounced quasi-biennial oscillation, and it underwent an obvious decadal transition from a poor snow cover period to a rich snow cover period in the late 1970’s during the last 40 years.

It is shown that the summer rainfall in the eastern China is closely associated with the winter snow cov-er over QXP not only in the interannual variation but also in the decadal variation. A clear relationship ex-ists in the quasi-biennial oscillation between the summer rainfall in the northern part of North China and the southern China and the winter snow cover over QXP. Furthermore, the summer rainfall in the four cli-mate divisions of Qinling-Daba Mountains, the Yangtze-Huaihe River Plain, the upper and lower reaches of the Yangtze River showed a remarkable transition from drought period to rainy period in the end of 1970’s, in good correspondence with the decadal transition of the winter snow cover over QXP.

Key words

Snow cover over Qinghai-Xizang Plateau Summer monsoon rainfall in China Interannual and decadal variations 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chen, L. T., and J. X. Yan, 1978: Influence of snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau in winter and spring on general circulation and precipitation in flood period of southern China. Collected Papers on the Long-range Hydrological and Meteorological Forecast by Yangtze River Office in 1978. Hydrological-Electrical Press, 185–194.Google Scholar
  2. Chen, L. T., and J. X. Yan, 1979: A statistical analysis of the influence of anomalous snow cover over Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau during winter-spring on the monsoon of early summer. Collected Papers on Meteorology of the Tibetan Plateau in 1977–1978. Science Press, 151–161.Google Scholar
  3. Chen, L. T., and R. G. Wu, 1994: Climatic division of precipitation in eastern China and characteristics of drought and flood in various divisions. Scientia Atmospherica Sinica, 18(5), 586–595.Google Scholar
  4. Gu, Q. Y., and J. J. Wang, 1986: The snow cover on Tibetan Plateau and its effect on the monsoon over East Asia. Plateau Meteorology, 5(2), 116–124 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  5. Huang, J. Y., 1988: The representations of the quasi-biennial period oscillation in precipitation over China. Scientia Atmospherica Sinica, 12(3), 267–273.Google Scholar
  6. Huang, R. H., 1986: The physical mechanism of the three-dimensional teleconnection in the summer circulation and application in the long-range weather forecasting. First WMO Conference on Long-range forecasting, Sep. 29–Oct. 3, 1986, Sofia.Google Scholar
  7. Ke, C. Q., and P. J. Li, 1998: Spatial and temporal characteristics of snow cover over the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Acta Geographica Sinica, 53(3), 209–215.Google Scholar
  8. Li, P. J., 1990: A preliminary study of snow cover variations over past 30 years in China. Acta Meteorologica Sinica, 48(4), 433–437.Google Scholar
  9. Wei, J. G., and X. W. Ro, 1993: Influence of snow cover in western China on precipitation in the food period in China. Plateau Meteorology, 12(4), 347–353 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  10. Wu, G. X., et al., 1995: The Modification of radiation effect of snowmelt sooner or later in the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau on the seasonal variation. Gansu Meteorology, 13(1), 1–8 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  11. Xu, G. C, et al., 1994: Snow cover anomaly over the Tibetan Plateau and its influence on the atmospheric circulation and rainfall in China. Quarterly Journal of Applied Meteorology, 5(1), 62–67 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  12. Yan, Z. W., J. J. Ji, and D, -Z. Yeh, 1990: Abrupt change of summer climate over the Northern Hemisphere during 1960’s. I: Variations of rainfall and temperature. Scientia Sinica (Series B), 1, 97–103.Google Scholar
  13. Yeh, D. Z., X. W. Ro, B. -Z. Zhu, 1957:The wind structure and heat balance in the lower troposphere over Tibetan Plateau and its surrounding. Acta Meteorologica Sinica, 28 (2), 108–121.Google Scholar
  14. Yeh, D. Z., and C. C. Zhang, 1974: A preliminary experimental simulation on the heating effect of the Tibetan Plateau on the general circulation over eastern Asia in summer. Scientia Sinica, 3, 397–420.Google Scholar
  15. Zhang, X. C, 1986: Statistical correlation between snow cover of Eurasia in winter-spring and rainfall and temperature of eastern China in summer. Science Bulletin, 31(20), 1412–1417.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chen Lieting
    • 1
  • Wu Renguang
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijing
  2. 2.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations