• CAPE;
  • aerosol;
  • deep cloud cover;
  • solar dimming;
  • total cloud cover;
  • water vapor

[1] Solar radiation over the Tibetan Plateau has declined over recent three decades, whereas total cloud cover has a decreasing trend. A likely explanation to this paradox is the increase in aerosols over this clean region. However, this study shows that the radiation extinction due to aerosol loading is of one order lower in magnitude than the observed dimming, and the solar dimming is also seen in a satellite product that was produced without considering temporal variations of aerosols. Instead, the inter-annual variability and decadal change in solar radiation is contrasting to that in water vapor amount and deep cloud cover (but not total cloud cover). Therefore, we suggest that the solar dimming over the Plateau is mainly due to the increase in water vapor amount and deep cloud cover, which in turn are related to the rapid warming and the increase in convective available potential energy.