The CO2-induced sensible heat changes over the Tibetan Plateau from November to April

  • Xia QuEmail author
  • Gang Huang
  • Lihua Zhu


Based on the monthly outputs of the Couple Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5), the present study examines the contributions of direct and indirect effects of CO2 to the response of the sensible heat (SH) over the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Under global warming, the TP SH features an uniform increase during November–April (NDJFMA). During NDJFMA, the SH change over the TP can be mainly attributed to the uniform SST increase induced by CO2 increasing. This uniform SST increase warms the atmosphere. In turn, it leads to: (1) reduction in snowfall over the TP, with maximum over south TP; (2) increased snowmelt mainly above 3000 m and decreased snowmelt near or south of 3000 m elevation south of TP. The net effects of snowfall and snowmelt are towards the reduction of the snow cover over the TP, which may alter the snow-albedo feedback. Consequently, more solar radiation is absorbed by the TP surface, and the TP surface warms. The surface–air temperature difference increases, which leads to the increase in SH. In addition, the enhancement of the SH offsets the increase in absorbed solar radiation and balances the radiation budget. On the above processes, the SST pattern slightly cancels out the TP SH increase; the contributions of CO2 direct radiative effect and residual terms are relatively small. Over the grids with elevations no less than 3000 m, the averaged changes are generally linear.


The Tibetan Plateau Sensible heat Surface–air temperature difference Snow cover 



We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Table 1 of this paper) for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals.” Besides, the authors wish to thank three anonymous reviewers for the insightful comments that lead to a significant improvement to the manuscript. The study was supported by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (Grant nos. 41425019, 41831175 and 41530425) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA20060501).


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Monsoon System Research, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Atmospheric Sciences/Plateau Atmosphere and Environment Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province/Joint Laboratory of Climate and Environment ChangeChengdu University of Information TechnologyChengduChina
  4. 4.Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical ModelingQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  5. 5.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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