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Spatial and temporal variations in air temperature and precipitation in the Chinese Himalayas during the 1971–2007

Authors

  • Jianping Yang,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
    • Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Gansu province, Lanzhou, China
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  • Chunping Tan,

    1. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Gansu province, Lanzhou, China
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  • Tingjun Zhang

    1. State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    2. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
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Correspondence to: J. Yang, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Gansu province, Lanzhou, 730000, China. E-mail: jianping@lzb.ac.cn

ABSTRACT

The Chinese Himalayas (CH) is highly sensitive to global climate change. The analyses of monthly mean air temperature and monthly precipitation data during the 1971–2007 from 24 meteorological stations show a significant increase of 0.31 °C per decade or about 1.15 °C for annual mean air temperature over the entire region. The temperature rise occurs primarily during the period of 1991–2007, up to 0.73 °C per decade. Climate warming is characterized by all-year temperature increase in particular during winters with the maximum value of 0.38 °C per decade during the 1971–2007, up to 1.24 °C per decade during 1991–2007. Distributions of annual temperature trends show significant south-to-north, low-to-high and east-to-west warming trends to increase with the latitude and elevation while to decrease with the longitude in the CH, respectively. Annual precipitation increases, but not significantly during the 1971–2007. Seasonal precipitation has no significant trend during the same period, either. Spatial discrepancy of the variations in precipitation is particularly great. It is evident that the climate was significantly warming and drying in the western CH over the past 37 years.

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