Journal of Meteorological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 18–30 | Cite as

Diurnal Variations of Summer Precipitation over the Qilian Mountains in Northwest China

  • Liangliang Li
  • Jian LiEmail author
  • Haoming Chen
  • Rucong Yu
Special Collection on Weather and Climate under Complex Terrain and Variable Land Surfaces: Observations and Numerical Simulations


Based on the high-density hourly rain-gauge data from 265 stations over the Qilian Mountains in Northwest China, climatic mean diurnal variations of summer rainfall over different topographies of this area are investigated. Influences of the gauge elevations on the diurnal variation of rainfall are also revealed. Distinct regional features of diurnal variations in rainfall are observed over the Qilian Mountains. Rainfall over the Qinghai Lake areas shows a single nocturnal peak. A dominant, late-afternoon peak of rainfall occurs over the mountain tops. Over the northeastern and southeastern slopes, a dominant diurnal peak appears in the late afternoon, and an evident second peak is found in the early morning, respectively. The strengths of the early-morning peaks in the rainfall frequency are closely related to the rainfall events with different durations over the two slopes. The early-morning peak is dominant across plains with low elevations. From the mountain tops to the plains, the diurnal peaks of rainfall gradually vary from the dominant late-afternoon peak to the dominant early-morning peak with the enhanced early-morning peak in concurrent with the decreasing gauge elevation over the northeastern and southeastern slopes. Further examination indicates that the rainfall at higher elevations over the northeastern and southeastern slopes occurs more readily in the afternoon, compared to the lower elevations. This phenomenon corresponds to the result that the proportion of the rainfall frequency occurring during the early-morning period decreases with increasing elevations over the two slopes.

Key words

the Qilian Mountains diurnal cycle topographic effects spatial distribution duration 


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The authors wish to thank the Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and valuable suggestions.


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Meteorological Society and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liangliang Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jian Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Haoming Chen
    • 1
  • Rucong Yu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesChina Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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