Geophysical Research Letters

Can aerosol loading explain the solar dimming over the Tibetan Plateau?

Authors

  • Kun Yang,

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    • Corresponding author: K. Yang, Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 4A Datun Rd., Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China. (yangk@itpcas.ac.cn)

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  • Baohong Ding,

    1. Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Jun Qin,

    1. Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Wenjun Tang,

    1. Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Ning Lu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Changgui Lin

    1. Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

[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.

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