Advertisement

Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 101, Issue 3–4, pp 241–253 | Cite as

Warming and drying trends on the Tibetan Plateau (1971–2005)

  • Hong XieEmail author
  • Jiansheng Ye
  • Xiuming Liu
  • Chongyi E
Original Paper

Abstract

Annual and seasonal trends in maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation and vapour pressure deficit (VPD) were examined with the goal of understanding trends in temperature and moisture across the Tibetan Plateau, using meteorological data (1971–2005) collected at 63 stations. Trends in pan evaporation (PE; 1971–2001, 68 stations) and runoff (1971–2002) in the headwater of the Yellow River were also analysed. Positive trends in maximum and minimum temperatures were observed across the Tibetan Plateau. The highest increases were observed during winter, with results from the majority of stations statistically significant at the 95% level. A decrease trend in diurnal temperature range (DTR) was also observed. Trends in annual and seasonal precipitation and VPD were positive, while the trend in PE was negative. However, the increase in precipitation was not as pronounced as the increase in temperature. Although PE decreased during the time series, actual evaporation probably increased because of the warming across the Tibetan Plateau, where the annual potential water loss measured as PE is three to four times the annual water supply by precipitation. Warming was expected to increase evapotranspiration, causing more water vapour to escape into the atmosphere, thus counteracting or even exceeding the slight increase in precipitation. The increases in annual and seasonal VPD trends indicated a drying tendency and were further substantiated by the observed decrease in runoff in the headwater catchment of the Yellow River. The results provided insight into recent climatic changes across the Tibetan Plateau.

Keywords

Tibetan Plateau Vapour Pressure Deficit Negative Trend Diurnal Temperature Range Qaidam Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and Dr. Li for his language revision. The meteorological data used in this study were collected from the Meteorological Information Center (CMA), which is highly appreciated.

References

  1. Allen RG, Pereira LS et al. (1998) Crop evaporation guidelines for computing crop water requirement. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper56[C]. FAO, ISBN 92-5-1042195Google Scholar
  2. Anderson DB (1936) Relative humidity or vapor pressure deficit. Ecology 17(2):277–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouchet RJ (1963) Evapotranspiration reelle et potentielle, signification climatique. In Proceedings of the Berkeley, California, Symposium, Pub. 62, pp. 134–142, Int. Assoc. of Sci. Hydrol.. Gentbrugge, BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  4. Burlando P, Rosso R (2002) Effects of transient climate change on basin hydrology. 1. Precipitation scenarios for the Arno River, central Italy. Hydrol Process 16:1151–1175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chapman WL, Walsh JE (1993) Recent variations of sea ice and air temperatures in high latitudes. Bull Amer Meteor Soc 74:33–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapin FS, Lovecraft AL, Zavaleta ES, Nelson J, Trainor SF et al (2006) Policy strategies to address sustainability of Alaskan boreal forests in response to a directionally changing climate. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103(45):16637–16643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen SB, Liu YF, Axel T (2006) Climatic change on the Tibetan Plateau: potential evapotranspiration trends from 1961–2000. Clim Change 76:291–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dai A, Del Genio AD, Fung IY (1997) Precipitation and temperature range. Nature 386(6626):665–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dai A, Trenberth E, Karl TR (1999) Effects of clouds, soil moisture, precipitation, and water vapour on diurnal temperature range. J Climate 12:2451–2473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Easterling DR, Horton B, Jones PD et al (1997) Maximum and minimum temperature trends for the globe. Science 277(5324):5324–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Englehart PJ, Douglas AV (2005) Changing behaviour in the diurnal range of surface air temperature over Mexico. Geophys Res Lett 32:L01701. doi: 10.1029/2004g1021139 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feng S, Yang M et al (1998) New evidence of China climate startup region for Tibet Plateau. Chin Sci Bull 43(6):633–666 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  13. Granger RJ, Gray DM (1989) Evaporation from natural nonsaturated surfaces. J Hydrol 111:21–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Giorgi F, Hurrell J, Marinucci MR, Beniston M (1997) Elevation dependency of the surface climate change signal: a model study. J Climate 10:288–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hinzman LD, Bettez ND, Bolton WR et al (2005) Evidence and implications of recent climate change in northern Alaska and other arctic regions. Clim Change 72:251–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang B (1986) Climate and physio-geographic division of China: retrospectives and prospects. Presented at the German-China Workshop ‘The climate of China’, August 11–13, 1968, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  17. IPCC (1992) Climate Change 1992: the supplementary report to the IPCC Scientific Assessment. WMO/UNEP, Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  18. IPCC (2007) Regional climate projections. In: IPCC fourth assessment report climate change 2007: the scientific basis. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. Kawamitsu Y, Yoda S, Agata W (1993) Humidity pretreatment affects the response of stomata and CO2 assimilation to vapor pressure difference in C3 and C4 plants. Plant Cell Physiol 34(1):113–119Google Scholar
  20. Lawrimore JH, Peterson TC (2000) Pan evaporation trends in dry and humid regions of the United States. J Hydrometeorol 1:543–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lan Y, Ding Y et al (2005) Possible change of runoff over the upper Yellow River basin under global-warming scenarios. Journal of glaciology and geocryology 26(6):668–673 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  22. Lan Y, Ding Y et al (2006) Review on impact of climate change on water resources system in the upper reaches of yellow river. Advances in Climate Change Research 1:122–125 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  23. Li S (1993) Agroclimatic resources and agricultural distribution patterns. In: Cheng C (ed) Climate and agriculture in China. China Meteorological Press, Beijing, pp 30–69Google Scholar
  24. Lin Z, Zhao X (1996) Spatial characteristics of changes in temperature and precipitation of the Qinghai-Xizang(Tibetan) Plateau. Chinese Science (Series D) 39(4):442–448Google Scholar
  25. Liu X, Chen B (2000) Climatic warming in the Tibetan Plateau during recent decades. Int J Climatol 20:1729–1742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liu X, Zhang M, Hui X et al (1998) Contemporary climate change of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau and its response to greenhouse effect. Science Geographica Sinica 18(2):113–121 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. Ludwig W, Serrat P et al (2004) Evaluating the impact of the recent temperature increase on the hydrology of the Têt River (Southern France). J Hydrol 289:204–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Makowski K, Wild M et al (2008) Diurnal temperature range over Europe between 1950 and 2005. Atmospheric, Chemistry and Physics 8:6483–6498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Misson L, Panek JA, Goldstein AH (2004) A comparison of three approaches to modeling leaf gas exchange in annually drought-stressed ponderosa pine forests. Tree Physiol 24:529–541Google Scholar
  30. Morton FI (1983) Operational estimates of real evaporation and their significance to the science and practice of hydrology. J Hydrol 66:1–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mu Q, Zhao M et al (2007) Evaluating water stress controls on primary production in biogeochemical and remote sensing based models. J Geophys Res 112:G01012. doi: 10.1029/2006JG000179 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Niu T, Chen L, Zhou Z (2004) The characteristics of climate change over the Tibetan Plateau in the last 40 years and the detection of climatic jumps. Advances in Atomospheric Sciences 21(2):193–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pan B, Li J (1996) Qinghai-Tiberan Plateau: a driver amplifier of the global. Journal of Lanhou University (Natural Science) 32(1):108–115 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  34. Peterson TC, Golubev VS, Groisman PY (1995) Evaporation losing its strength. Nature 377:687–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Running SW, Nemani RR (1988) Relating seasonal patterns of the AVHRR Vegetation Index to simulate photosynthesis and transpiration of forests in different climates. Remote Sens Environ 24:347–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Serreze MC, Barry RG (2000) Atmospheric components of the Arctic Ocean hydrologic budget assessed from Rawinsonde data. In: Lewis EL et al (eds) The freshwater budget of the Arctic Ocean. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 151–161Google Scholar
  37. Shi Y (2003) An assessment of the issues of climate shift from warm-dry to warm-wet in Northwest China. China Meteorological Press, Beijing, p 124Google Scholar
  38. Stechikov GL, Robock A (1995) Diurnal asymmetry of climatic response to increased CO2 and aerosol: forcing and feedbacks. J Geophys Res 100(D12):26211–26227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stone DA, Weaver AJ (2002) Factors contributing to diurnal temperature range trends in twentieth and twenty-first century simulations of the CCCma coupled model. Clim Dynam 20:435–445. doi: 10.1007/s00382-002-0288-y Google Scholar
  40. Thomas A (2000) Spatial and temporal characteristics of potential evapotranspiration trends over China. Int J Climatol 20:381–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vose S, Easterling DR, Gleason B (2005) An update through 2004. Geophys Res Lett 32:L23822. doi: 10.1029/2005GL024379 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wu SH, Yin YH, Zheng D, Yang QY (2007) Climatic trends over the Tibetan Plateau during 1971–2000. Journal of Geographical Sciences. doi: 10.1007/s11442-007- 0141-7 Google Scholar
  43. Xu ZX, Gong TL, Li JY (2008) Decadal trend of climate in the Tibetan Plateau—regional temperature and precipitation. Hydrol Process 22:3056–3065CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ye J, Guo A, Sun G (2009) Statistical analysis of reference evapotranspiration on the Tibetan Plateau. J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 135:134–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zheng Du (1996) The system of physico-geographical regions of the Qinghai-Xizang(Tibetet) Plateau. Science in China (Series D) 39(4):410–417Google Scholar
  46. Zheng D, Li B (1999) Progress in studies on geographical environments of the Tibetan Plateau. Scientia Geographica Sinica 19(4):295–302 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  47. Zhang L, Zhang R (2003) Development coordination for eco-environment rehabilitation with world climatic variation in Northwest China. Research of Soil and Water Conservation 10(4):120–123 (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong Xie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jiansheng Ye
    • 2
  • Xiuming Liu
    • 1
  • Chongyi E
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems (MOE), College of Earth and Environmental ScienceLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Arid and Grassland Ecology, College of Life ScienceLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina

Personalised recommendations