Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 138, Issue 3–4, pp 1591–1613 | Cite as

Seasonal near-surface air temperature dependence on elevation and geographical coordinates for Pakistan

  • Dambaru Ballab KattelEmail author
  • Tandong Yao
  • Kalim Ullah
  • Adnan Shafiq Rana
Original Paper


This study evaluates the monthly, seasonal, and annual characteristics of near-surface air temperature as a function of both elevation and geographical coordinates over Pakistan, using a climatic data set from 53 observation stations ranging between 5 and 2317 m asl and stepwise multiple regression. Forcing processes for temperature gradient (TG) variation were determined by analyzing its relationship with moisture flux (qv) and gradients of rainfall and saturation vapor pressure (es). The bi-model pattern of TGE (temperature gradient with topographic elevation), which earlier studies (TAAC 113(3):671-682, TAAC 132:1129-1141) from the southern slopes of the Himalayas have observed, is also consistent in this study region. However, the forcing strengths, mechanisms, and processes for the monthly variations in TGs magnitude and their diurnal range are somewhat different. The annual cycle of TGE in this study is inversely (positively) associated with the rainfall (es) gradient. Monsoon and orographic controls for TGE are stronger in summer, especially in the day, while the influences of inversions and mountainous topoclimate are higher during the non-monsoon period, in particular in winter and at night. Mountain barrier effects are higher in summer, which considerably hamper the relationship between temperature and geographical coordinates and rainfall and elevations. Steeper values of mean TGEs in the non-monsoon period are the result of strong dry convectional cooling at higher elevations due to high thermal forcing effects at lower elevations. Sensible heating reduction due to westerly-driven precipitation and cloud cover in daytime in the northern mountainous region (or higher latitudes) further strengthens the TGE value in this period. This effect is weaker in the surrounding regions; therefore, the TGE magnitude in this study is expected to be higher, especially in the pre-monsoon season. Gradients are more shallow in winter (excluding latitude), but values are greater than those in summer, due to distinct variations in moisture and cloud amount, i.e., lower in winter and higher in summer, particularly at lower elevations. Observed distinct differences in TG diurnal range between elevation (high) and latitude (low) in this study are due to a wide variation in temperature, topography, and elevations within the same latitudinal belts. In this study, the lowest gradient values for elevation are observed in August and the highest in May, 1 month later than observed in adjacent mountain regions due to the late arrival of monsoon moisture in summer and intense thermal forcing effects following the wet early pre-monsoon months. Distinct variability of gradient magnitudes between the northern mountainous region and the southern flat terrain is due to differences in topoclimates, moisture amounts, elevations, and geographical coordinates.



The authors thank the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Government of Pakistan, for providing the data. We also thank the anonymous reviewer and the Editor for their constructive comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank Betsy Armstrong for the editing of the manuscript.

Funding information

This study is financiallysupported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA20100300). Dambaru Ballab Kattel is financially supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) President's International Fellowship Initiative for Visiting Scientist (grant no. 2016VEB013). Kalim Ullah is financially supported by the Pakistan Science Foundation (Grant No. PSF/NSFC-Earth/C-COMSATS-1sb (07)).

Supplementary material

704_2019_2899_Fig10_ESM.png (281 kb)
Figure S1

Monthly variation of TGEs (a), R2 (b), esGE (c) and rainfall gradient (d) along the northern mountainous region (subset region 1) in Pakistan (PNG 281 kb)

704_2019_2899_MOESM1_ESM.tif (16.7 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 17128 kb)
704_2019_2899_Fig11_ESM.png (551 kb)
Figure S2

Annual cycle of nears-surface mean, maximum, and minimum temperature and saturation vapor pressure (es) gradients with elevation (a and e), latitude (b and f), and longitude (c and g), R2 (d) and temperature gradient with elevation (TGE) differences (h) in subset region 2 in Pakistan (PNG 550 kb)

704_2019_2899_MOESM2_ESM.tif (30.6 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 31345 kb)
704_2019_2899_Fig12_ESM.png (281 kb)
Figure S3

Monthly variation of rainfall gradients with elevation and geographical coordinates, as well as proportion of variation (R2) and Mallows constant (MCp) in subset region 2 (PNG 280 kb)

704_2019_2899_MOESM3_ESM.tif (18.2 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 18650 kb)
704_2019_2899_MOESM4_ESM.docx (17 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 17 kb)
704_2019_2899_MOESM5_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese, Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of MeteorologyCOMSATS UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Pakistan Meteorological DepartmentIslamabadPakistan

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