Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 571–581 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal variability of water vapor content during 1961–2011 in Tianshan Mountains, China

  • Wen-feng Hu
  • Jun-qiang Yao
  • Qing He
  • Qing YangEmail author


Based on the climate factors data and surface vapor pressure (SVP) data of 44 weather stations in Tianshan Mountains during the years 1961–2011, this paper establishes a water vapor content (WVC) estimation model according to the relationship between monthly WVC of radiosonde and corresponding SVP and analyzes the spatial and temporal variability of WVC and their causes. The results show that the WVC is linearly and negatively related to the elevation and longitude (Vertical zonality and Longitude zonality), while it was not linearly related to the latitude. The westerly wind, geographical situation and sea level elevation composed complex surface conditions to influence the spatial distribution of WVC in the Tianshan Mountains. The Mann-Kendall (M-K) statistical test shows a significant increasing trend in the mean annual WVC in Tianshan Mountains during 1961–2011(P < 0.001), with a rate of 0.23 mm/decade, and indicates an abrupt turning point in 1985 (P < 0.001). Correlation analysis shows that the WVC are significantly correlated to the temperature, especially during the winter, but the summer WVC are significantly correlated to the precipitation. In addition, the North Atlantic Oscillation Index (NAOI) and the Arctic Oscillation Index (AOI) are significantly correlated to the winter WVC in the Tianshan Mountains. As a new Microwave radiometric profilers (MWRPs) instrument, the MP-3000A provides continuous, real-time and high temporal resolution atmospheric profiles up to 10 km. In order to monitor water vapor and atmosphere profiles in Tianshan Mountains, an MP-3000A was established in Urumqi (43.8°N, 87.58°N) in May 2008. The results indicated that the MP-3000A was applicable to this area, and the evolutionary process of water vapor and the WVC peak values of MP-3000A were a strong signal for rainstorm and flood forecasts for Urumqi and the Tianshan Mountains.


Water vapor content Spatial variability Temporal variability Microwave radiometers Tianshan Mountains 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen-feng Hu
    • 1
  • Jun-qiang Yao
    • 2
  • Qing He
    • 3
  • Qing Yang
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Climate Change and Hydrologic Cycle in Arid Region, College of Earth and Environmental ScienceLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentXinjiang UniversityUrumqiChina
  3. 3.Institute of Desert MeteorologyChina Meteorological AdministrationUrumqiChina

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