Decadal decline of summer precipitation fraction observed in the field and from TRMM satellite data across the Mongolian Plateau
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Shifts in precipitation regimes have been given increased attention along with climate trends in the arid and semiarid Mongolian Plateau (MP), because precipitation is the dominant factor that controls vegetation growth and land-use practices in the region. However, the temporal variability and spatial heterogeneity of decadal trends in summer precipitation fraction have not been well understood. In this study, the temporal variability and spatial heterogeneity of annual and summer precipitation change were investigated with the major focus on the summer precipitation fraction across the entire MP, using monthly precipitation data from 141 meteorological stations and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation data. The Mann–Kendall trend test, Sen’s regression, and Spatial Analyst methods were used for time series analysis. Results show that the regional summer precipitation fraction declined significantly at a rate of − 1.0%/decade (p < 0.05) during 1961–2010, which was supported by TRMM satellite data with a rate of − 2.86%/decade over 1998–2016. Interestingly, rates of decrease in the summer precipitation fraction varied by ecoregion. Spatially, trend in summer precipitation fraction was very heterogeneous, with significant decreasing trends in the eastern typical steppe and southeastern agro-pastoral ecotone, but increasing trends in the southwestern desert and Gobi desert region. In conclusion, the summer precipitation fraction declined because of the asymmetric decreasing or increasing rates in summer and non-summer precipitation during both 1961–2010 and 1998–2010. This implies a major shift of precipitation regime in the region. This is likely driven by decadal changes of the East Asia monsoon system.
KeywordsPrecipitation Climate change Mongolian Plateau Satellite Seasonal fraction Monsoon
This research was jointly supported by the China National Key R&D Program (2016YFA0600303), CAS International Program-Climate Change Observation and Synthesis along B&R (134111KYSB20160010), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (61661045).
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