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Trend in the atmospheric heat source over the central and eastern Tibetan Plateau during recent decades: Comparison of observations and reanalysis data

DOI: 10.1007/s11434-011-4838-8

Keywords: Tibetan Plateau,atmospheric heat source,sensible heating,trend,station observation data,reanalysis datasets

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Abstract:

The trend in the atmospheric heat source over the central and eastern Tibetan Plateau (CE-TP) is quantitatively estimated using historical observations at 71 meteorological stations, three reanalysis datasets from 1980–2008, and two satellite radiation datasets from 1984–2007. Results show that a weakening of sensible heat (SH) flux over the CE-TP continues. The most significant trend occurs in spring, induced mainly by decelerated surface wind speeds. The ground-air temperature difference shows a notable increasing trend over the last 5 years. Trends in net radiation flux of the atmospheric column over the CE-TP, evaluated by two satellite radiation datasets, are clearly different. Trends in the atmospheric heat source calculated by the three reanalysis datasets are not completely consistent, and even show opposite signals. Results from the two datasets both show a weakening of the heat source but the magnitude of one is significantly stronger, whereas an increase is indicated by the other data. Therefore, it is challenging to accurately calculate the trend in the atmospheric heat source over the CE-TP, particularly from the estimates of the reanalysis datasets.

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