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A climatology of surface–air temperature difference over the Tibetan Plateau: Results from multi-source reanalyses

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Xuejia Wang
Deliang Chen
Guojin Pang
Tinghai Ou
Meixue Yang
Meng Wang
Publicerad i International Journal of Climatology
ISSN 0899-8418
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.6568
Ämnesord air temperature, reanalysis dataset, surface temperature, surface–air temperature difference, Tibetan Plateau
Ämneskategorier Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap


The Tibetan Plateau (TP), known as earth's “Third Pole,” influences regional and even global weather and climate systems through its mechanical and thermal-dynamical forcing. Near-surface (2 m) air temperature (Ta) and surface (skin) temperature (Ts) are two crucial parameters of land–atmosphere interactions and climate change. Their difference (ΔT = Ts − Ta) determines the heating source over the TP that drives the Asian summer monsoon. This study focuses on climatology, inter-annual variability, and long-term trend of ΔT over the TP in the last four decades (1979–2018), based on four latest reanalysis datasets including ERA-Interim, ERA5, MERRA2, and JRA55, along with observational data. We show that ΔT-based different datasets display fairly different climatology in terms of seasonality, spatial distribution, and long-term trend. ΔT exhibits a clear seasonality with negative value in winter and positive ones in summer despite different strengths and timings presented by the reanalyses. Along with global warming, all reanalyses except JRA55 exhibit obvious downwards trends of ΔT in a spatially non-uniform way. The median ΔT among the four reanalyses features uniform decreases in all seasons, with the most distinct area on the northern TP, as well as the largest and least decreases in autumn and spring, respectively. Further analysis shows that the differences in ΔT are most likely associated with discrepancies in radiation forcing, snow cover, wind speed, and boundary layer height within the reanalyses. The present findings highlight the difficulty for the state-of-the-art reanalyses to represent the climate change over the TP and point to possible factors behind the deficiencies identified.

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