The variation of precipitation plays an important role in the eco-hydrological processes and water resources regimes on the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Based on the monthly mean precipitation data of 65 meteorological stations over the TP and surrounding areas from 1961 to 2015, variations, trends and temporal–spatial distribution of precipitation have been studied; furthermore, the possible reasons were also discussed preliminarily. The results show that the annual mean precipitation on the TP was 465.5 mm during 1961–2015. The precipitation in summer (June–August (JJA)) accounted for 60.1% of the whole year’s precipitation, the precipitation in summer half-year (May–October) accounted for 91.0%, while the precipitation in winter half-year (November–April) only accounted for 9.0% of the whole year’s precipitation. During 1961–2015, the annual precipitation trend was 3.8 mm/10a and the seasonal precipitation trends were 3.0 mm/10a, 0.0 mm/10a, −0.1 mm/10a and 0.4 mm/10a in spring, summer, autumn and winter on the TP, respectively. The precipitation has decreased from the southeastern to northwestern TP; the trend of precipitation has decreased with the increase of altitude, but the correlation was not significant. The rising of air temperature and land cover changes may cause the precipitation by changing the hydrological cycle and energy budget. Furthermore, different patterns of atmospheric circulation can also influence precipitation variation in different regions.
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