Climate Dynamics

, Volume 53, Issue 3–4, pp 1711–1722 | Cite as

Large-scale backgrounds and crucial factors modulating the eastward moving speed of vortices moving off the Tibetan Plateau

  • Lun LiEmail author
  • Renhe Zhang
  • Min Wen


Tibetan Plateau vortices (TPVs) are major rain producer over the Tibetan Plateau, which trigger heavy rainfall in southwestern and eastern China when moving off the plateau. In this work, two groups of TPVs moving off the plateau are selected according to their eastward moving speeds. The features of the atmospheric dynamic and thermodynamic fields associated with the two groups of TPVs are compared, based on the final (FNL) operational global analysis data from the Global Forecasting System of the National Centers for Environment Prediction (NCEP). The results show that the large-scale circulations and heating fields have a close relationship with the moving speed of the TPVs. The TPVs move eastward faster when wider and stronger convergence at 500 hPa, divergence at 200 hPa and the related ascending motion are observed to the east of TPVs. In addition, the stronger and further eastward stretching unstable stratification and water vapor convergence, as well as the more intensive heating field above 500 hPa to the east of TPVs, correspond to larger eastward moving speed of TPVs. Furthermore, the crucial factors modulating the moving speed of TPVs are explored through potential vorticity (PV) budget analyses, in which the physical variables are partitioned into zonal means and disturbances. The convergence of the mean zonal winds and disturbance winds at 500 hPa, as well as the vertical distribution of disturbance heating to the east of TPVs are the crucial factors influencing the eastward moving speed of TPVs, among which the vertical distribution of disturbance heating is the most dominant.


Tibetan Plateau vortices Large-scale circulations Thermodynamic fields PV tendency equation 



This work is supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (Grant No. 2016YFA0600602), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41775059), the Basic Scientific Research and Operation Foundation of CAMS (Grant Nos. 2016Y001 and 2018Z006), and the Science and Technology Development Fund of CAMS (Grant Nos. 2018KJ029 and 2019KJ011).


  1. Chen BM, Qian ZA, Zhang LS (1996) Numerical simulation of formation and development of vortices over the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau in summer. Chin J Atmos Sci 20:491–502 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  2. Curio J, Schiemann R, Hodges KI, Turner AG (2018) Climatology of Tibetan Plateau Vortices in reanalysis data and a high-resolution global climate model. J Clim. (in press) Google Scholar
  3. Dell’Osso L, Chen SJ (1986) Numerical experiments on the genesis of vortices Over the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Tellus 38(A):235–250Google Scholar
  4. Frank WM (1977) The structure and energetics of the tropical cyclone I: storm structure. Mon Wea Rev 105:1119–1135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gao WL, Yu SH (2007) Analyses on mean circulation field of the plateau low vortex moving out of the Tibetan Plateau. Plateau Meteor 26:206–212 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  6. Gray WM (1981) Recent advance in tropical cyclone research from rawinsonde composite analysis, WMO Program on Research in Tropical Meteorology. World Meteorological Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  7. Gu QY, Shi R, Xu HM (2010) Comparison analysis of the circulation characteristics of plateau vortex moving out of and not out of the plateau. Meteor Mon 36:7–15 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  8. Guo MZ (1986) General investigation of the moving eastward Lows over Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Plateau Meteor 5:184–188 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  9. Hirschberg PA, Fritsch JM (1993) On understanding height tendency. Mon Wea Rev 121:2646–2661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hoskins BJ, James IN, White GH (1983) The shape, propagation and mean-flow interaction of large scale weather system. J Atmos Sci 40:1595–1612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hunt KMR, Curio J, Turner AG, Schiemann R (2018) Subtropical westerly jet influence on occurrence of western disturbances and Tibetan Plateau vortices. Geophys Res Lett 45:8629–8636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lhasa Group for Tibetan Plateau Meteorology Research (1981) Research of 500 hPa vortices and shear lines over the Tibetan Plateau in summer. China Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  13. Li GP (2002) The Tibetan Plateau dynamic meteorology. China Meteorological Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  14. Li GP, Zhao BJ (2002) A dynamical study of the role of surface sensible heating in the structure and intensification of the Tibetan Plateau vortices. Chin J Atmos Sci 26:519–525 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Li Y, Chen LS, Wang JZ (2004) The diagnostic analysis on the characteristics of large scale circulation corresponding to the sustaining and decaying of tropical cyclone after it’s landfall. Acta Meteorol Sin 62:167–197 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  16. Li L, Zhang R, Wen M (2011) Diagnostic analysis of the evolution mechanism for a vortex over the Tibetan Plateau Plateau in June 2008. Adv Atmos Sci 28:797–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Li L, Zhang RH, Wen M (2014a) Diurnal variation in the occurrence frequency of the Tibetan Plateau vortices. Meteor Atmos Phys 125:135–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li L, Zhang RH, Wen M, Liu LK (2014b) Effect of the atmospheric heat source on the development and eastward movement of the Tibetan Plateau vortices. Tellus A66:24451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Liu FM, Fu MJ (1985) A study on the moving eastward Lows over Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Plateau Meteor 5:125–134 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  20. Luo SW (1992) Study on some kinds of weather systems over and around the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. China Meteorological Press, Beijing, p 205 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  21. Luo HB, Yanai M (1984) The large-scale circulation and heat sources over the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas during the early summer of 1979. Part II: heat and moisture budgets. Mon Wea Rev 112:966–989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Luo SW, Yang Y (1992) A case study on numerical simulation of summer vortex over Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau. Plateau Meteor 11:39–48 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  23. Luo SW, Yang Y, Lu SH (1991) Diagnostic analyses of a summer vortex over Qinghai-Xizang Plateau for 29–30 June 1979. Plateau Meteor 10:1–11 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  24. Luo SW, He ML, Liu XD (1994) Study on the vortex of the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau in summer. Sci China SerB 37:601–612Google Scholar
  25. Qiao QM, Zhang YG (1994) Synoptic meteorology of the Tibetan Plateau and its effect on the near areas. China Meteorological Press, Beijing, p 251 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  26. Shen RJ, Reiter ER, Bresch JF (1986) Some aspects of the effects of sensible heating on the development of summer weather system over the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. J Atmos Sci 43:2241–2260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wang B (1987) The development mechanism for Tibetan Plateau warm vortices. J Atmos Sci 44:2978–2994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wang X, Li YQ, Yu SH, Jiang XW (2009) Statistical study on the plateau low vortex activities. Plateau Meteor 28:64–71 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  29. Wu GX, Liu HZ (1999) Complete form of vertical vorticity tendency equation and slantwise vorticity development. Acta Meteorol Sin 57:1–15Google Scholar
  30. Wu GX, Liu YM, Yu JJ, Zhu XY, Ren RC (2008) Modulation of land-sea distribution on air-sea interaction and formation of subtropical anticyclones. Chin J Atmos Sci 32:720–740 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  31. Wu GX, Liu YM, Zhu XY, Li W, Ren RC, Duan AM, Liang X (2009) Multi-scale forcing and the formation of subtropical desert and monsoon. Ann Geophys 27:3631–3644CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yanai M, Steven E, Chu JH (1973) Determination of bulk properties of tropical cloud clusters from large-scale heat and moisture budgets. J Atmos Sci 30:611–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ye DZ, Gao YX (1979) The Tibetan Plateau meteorology. China Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  34. Yu SH, Gao WL, Gu QY (2007) The middle-upper circulation analyses of the Plateau low vortex moving out of Plateau and influencing flood in east China in recent years. Plateau Meteor 26:466–475 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  35. Yu SH, Gao WL, Peng J (2015) Circulation Features of Sustained Departure Plateau Vortex at Middle Tropospheric Level. Plateau Meteor 34:1540–1555 (in Chinese) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Severe WeatherChinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Atmospheric SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations