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Spatiotemporal impact of soil moisture on air temperature across the Tibet Plateau

Fan, Keke, Zhang, Qiang, Singh, Vijay P., Sun, Peng, Song, Changqing, Zhu, Xiudi, Yu, Huiqian, Shen, Zexi
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.649 pp. 1338-1348
air temperature, basins, climate change, data collection, evaporation, evapotranspiration, hydrologic cycle, soil water, spring, summer, vegetation types, China, Himalayan region
The Himalayan Tibet Plateau (HTP) is regarded as the third pole of the globe and is highly sensitive to global climate change. The hydrothermal properties of HTP greatly impacts the water cycle of the HTP and climate change in its surrounding regions. Using the NCEP-CFSR dataset, this study investigated the spatiotemporal pattern of soil moisture (SM) during different seasons considering vegetation types. The response of the evaporation fraction (EF) to SM and the impact of SM on air temperature through evapotranspiration were analyzed. Results showed that the spatial distribution of SM across the HTP was persistent during different seasons. A decreasing SM trend was observed from southeastern to northwestern HTP. Further, results of this study indicated a wetting tendency in past thirty years, espcially in desert region. In addition, the majority of the HTP regions were dominated by persistent transitional SM conditions which could be identified in the Himalayas and the southeastern HTP, whereas a persistent SM deficit in the Qaidam basin. The sensitivity of temperature response to EF was the strongest during spring and summer. Moreover, the spatial distribution of sensitivity was highly consistent with the vegetation regionalization, indicating the remarkable impact of vegetation type on the sensitivity of temperature to EF changes in summer.