Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 189–198 | Cite as

Altitude effects of climatic variation on Tibetan Plateau and its vicinities

  • Aigang Lu (卢爱刚)
  • Shichang Kang (康世昌)
  • Zongxing Li (李宗省)
  • Wilfred H. Theakstone


High topographies, such as the Tibetan plateau (TP) in China, have been considered as the sensitive areas in response to global climate change. By analyzing the relationship between warming structure and altitude (1 000–5 000 m) in the TP and its vicinities using the 46-year January mean observed temperature data, we found that there was a significant altitude effect of temperature warming onset time (mutation time) on the plateau and the neighboring regions: the higher the altitude, the later the climate warming happens, and vice versa. There also seems a slight altitude effect on warming magnitude: the higher the altitude, the less the warming magnitude. Therefore, the temperature warming in the high altitude area of the TP (below 5 000 m) responds to global warming less sensitively than the low-altitude neighboring areas both in onset time and magnitude, which may be mainly caused by high albedo and large thermal capacity of the ice/snow cover on the higher part of the plateau and possible heat island effect in the lower part of the plateau.

Key Words

climatic variation Tibetan plateau altitude effect 


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Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aigang Lu (卢爱刚)
    • 1
  • Shichang Kang (康世昌)
    • 2
  • Zongxing Li (李宗省)
    • 3
    • 4
  • Wilfred H. Theakstone
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Environment and Life SciencesWeinan Teachers UniversityWeinanChina
  2. 2.Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Yulong Snow Mountain Glacial and Environmental Observation Station, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  4. 4.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.School of Environment and DevelopmentUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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