Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 108, Issue 1–2, pp 293–300 | Cite as

Tibetan Plateau summer precipitation: covariability with circulation indices

  • Oliver BotheEmail author
  • Klaus Fraedrich
  • Xiuhua Zhu
Original Paper


Relations between Tibetan Plateau precipitation and large-scale climate indices are studied based on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and the boreal summer season. The focus is on the decadal variability of links between the large-scale circulation and the plateau drought and wetness. Analysis of teleconnectivity of the continental northern hemisphere standardized summer precipitation reveals the Tibetan Plateau as a major SPI teleconnectivity center in south-eastern Asia connecting remote correlation patterns over Eurasia. Employing a moving window approach, changes in covariability and synchronizations between Tibetan Plateau summer SPI and climate indices are analyzed on decadal time scales. Decadal variability in the relationships between Tibetan Plateau summer SPI and the large-scale climate system is characterized by three shifts related to changes in the North Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and the tropical Pacific. Changes in the North Atlantic variability (North Atlantic Oscillation) result in a stable level of Tibetan Plateau summer SPI variability; the response to changes in tropical Pacific variability is prominent in various indices such as Asian monsoon, Pacific/North America, and East Atlantic/Western Russia pattern.


Tibetan Plateau Standardize Precipitation Index Pacific Decadal Oscillation Western North Pacific Circulation Index 
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.



Referees’ comments are appreciated, which helped to improve the manuscript. Financial support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Klimacampus Hamburg is appreciated. KF and XZ acknowledge support of the Max Planck Society. NCEP Reanalysis derived data is provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their Web site at, as is the AMO index. Further data is obtained from the DWD, the CPC at NOAA, the FRCGCC, the International Pacific Research Center, and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klimacampus, CliSAPUniversität Hamburg, c/o Max Planck Institut für MeteorologieHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Klimacampus, Meteorologisches InstitutUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institut für MeteorologieHamburgGermany

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