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Open AccessArticle

Spatial and Temporal Patterns of the Extreme Precipitation across the Tibetan Plateau (1986–2015)

State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, China
School of Geoscience and Technology, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Aerospace Information Research Institute, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1453;
Received: 6 June 2019 / Revised: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 12 July 2019 / Published: 14 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology and Hydrogeology)
The Tibetan Plateau is one of the most vulnerable areas to extreme precipitation. In recent decades, water cycles have accelerated, and the temporal and spatial characteristics of extreme precipitation have undergone dramatic changes across the Tibetan Plateau, especially in its various ecosystems. However, there are few studies that considered the variation of extreme precipitation in various ecosystems, and the impact of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and few researchers have made a quantitative analysis between them. In this study, we analyzed the spatial and temporal pattern of 10 extreme precipitation indices across the Tibetan Plateau (including its four main ecosystems: Forest, alpine meadow, alpine steppe, and desert steppe) based on daily precipitation from 76 meteorological stations over the past 30 years. We used the linear least squares method and Pearson correlation coefficient to examine variation magnitudes of 10 extreme precipitation indices and correlation. Temporal pattern indicated that consecutive wet days (CWD) had a slightly decreasing trend (slope = −0.006), consecutive dry days (CDD), simple daily intensity (SDII), and extreme wet day precipitation (R99) displayed significant increasing trends, while the trends of other indices were not significant. For spatial patterns, the increasing trends of nine extreme precipitation indices (excluding CDD) occurred in the southwestern, middle and northern regions of the Tibetan Plateau; decreasing trends were distributed in the southeastern region, while the spatial pattern of CDD showed the opposite distribution. As to the four different ecosystems, the number of moderate precipitation days (R10mm), number of heavy precipitation days (R20mm), wet day precipitation (PRCPTOT), and very wet day precipitation (R95) in forest ecosystems showed decreasing trends, but CDD exhibited a significant increasing trend (slope = 0.625, P < 0.05). In the other three ecosystems, all extreme precipitation indices generally exhibited increasing trends, except for CWD in alpine meadow (slope = −0.001) and desert steppe (slope = −0.005). Furthermore, the crossover wavelet transform indicated that the ENSO had a 4-year resonance cycle with R95, SDII, R20mm, and CWD. These results provided additional evidence that ENSO play an important remote driver for extreme precipitation variation in the Tibetan Plateau. View Full-Text
Keywords: extreme precipitation; spatial and temporal patterns; Tibetan Plateau; ecosystems; ENSO extreme precipitation; spatial and temporal patterns; Tibetan Plateau; ecosystems; ENSO
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Xiong, J.; Yong, Z.; Wang, Z.; Cheng, W.; Li, Y.; Zhang, H.; Ye, C.; Yang, Y. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of the Extreme Precipitation across the Tibetan Plateau (1986–2015). Water 2019, 11, 1453.

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