Climate Dynamics

, Volume 52, Issue 5–6, pp 3599–3608 | Cite as

Extremes in the magnitude of annual temperature cycle on the Tibetan Plateau over the past three centuries

  • Jianping DuanEmail author
  • Zhuguo Ma
  • Naiming Yuan
  • Lun Li
  • Liang Chen


Weakening of annual temperature cycle (ATC) on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) in the last decades has been identified, and there is a subsequent change in the frequency of the ATC magnitude extremes. These changes in the climate have a potential influence on biological and ecological systems. However, the frequency of occurrences of the ATC magnitude extremes in the recent decades compared to the preindustrial period, as well as the potential driving forces remains unclear. This can limit the robust predictions and risk assessments for extreme events of the ATC in the future. In this study, we analyzed the frequency of occurrence of the ATC magnitude extremes using both recent observations (1955–2011) and a tree-ring-based reconstruction covering the past three centuries over the TP. The results indicate that the ATC magnitude extremes in maximum obviously decrease and in minimum distinctly increase under climate warming, both for the instrumental period and the past three centuries. Moreover, the occurrence of the ATC magnitude extremes on the TP had a distinct regional characteristic and was mainly related to the winter temperature extremes triggered by the anomalous meridional gradient of geopotential height impelling cold air intrudes the TP. Although volcanic eruptions were expected to result in summer cooling and winter warming, and thus trigger the minimum ATC magnitude extremes, this effect only can be identified in event-specific eruptions (e.g., the 1835 Cosiguina eruption). Our study results provide an essential background for developing robust predictions and risk assessments for the ATC magnitude extremes on the TP.


Tibetan Plateau Annual temperature cycle Extreme climate events Tree rings 



This research was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFA0600404), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 41471035, 41101043 and 41405054). Climate data from the meteorological stations were obtained from the National Meteorological Information Center of China Meteorological Administration. Jianping Duan acknowledges support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianping Duan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhuguo Ma
    • 1
  • Naiming Yuan
    • 1
  • Lun Li
    • 2
  • Liang Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Chinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina

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