On the contrasting decadal changes of diurnal surface temperature range between the Tibetan Plateau and southeastern China during the 1980s–2000s
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The diurnal surface temperature range (DTR) has become significantly smaller over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) but larger in southeastern China, despite the daily mean surface temperature having increased steadily in both areas during recent decades. Based on ERA-Interim reanalysis data covering 1979–2012, this study shows that the weakened DTR over TP is caused by stronger warming of daily minimum surface temperature (Tmin) and a weak cooling of the daily maximum surface temperature (Tmax); meanwhile, the enhanced DTR over southeastern China is mainly associated with a relatively stronger/weaker warming of Tmax/Tmin. A further quantitative analysis of DTR changes through a process-based decomposition method—the Coupled Surface–Atmosphere Climate Feedback Response Analysis Method (CFRAM)—indicates that changes in radiative processes are mainly responsible for the decreased DTR over the TP. In particular, the increased low-level cloud cover tends to induce the radiative cooling/warming during daytime/nighttime, and the increased water vapor helps to decrease the DTR through the stronger radiative warming during nighttime than daytime. Contributions from the changes in all radiative processes (over −2°C) are compensated for by those from the stronger decreased surface sensible heat flux during daytime than during nighttime (approximately 2.5°C), but are co-contributed by the changes in atmospheric dynamics (approximately −0.4°C) and the stronger increased latent heat flux during daytime (approximately −0.8°C). In contrast, the increased DTR over southeastern China is mainly contributed by the changes in cloud, water vapor and atmospheric dynamics. The changes in surface heat fluxes have resulted in a decrease in DTR over southeastern China.
KeywordsTibetan Plateau diurnal surface temperature range decadal change CFRAM
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