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Theory and Application for Warning and Prediction of Disastrous Weather Downstream from the Tibetan Plateau Horizons in Earth Science Research

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau is the largest and highest plateau in the world. Because of its unique geographic feature, the Tibetan Plateau plays important roles in global weather and climate systems. In particular, due to its elevated land surface and strong radiative heating, the
Tibetan Plateau becomes a favorable place for initiating a large number of convective cells. These convective cells over the plateau are often evolved into a severe storm downstream, carrying typical characteristics of “lee cyclone.” Furthermore, the plateau acts as a large-scale air pump, attracting warm-moist air from Indian Ocean and South China Sea. The water vapor will converge on the southeast side of the Tibetan Plateau, and then turn to the east. The abnormality of the downstream transport of water vapor often results in flooding and drought conditions in many East Asian countries. Finally, as a gigantic heat source, the plateau also takes an exclusive role in the Indian and East Asian summer monsoon, which brings about the largest monsoon rainfall on Earth.

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