Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 87–97 | Cite as

Some characteristics of cumulus convection over the Tibetan Plateau

  • Duan Tingyang
  • Elmar R. Reiter


The diagnostic model of the cumulus convection proposed by Yanai et al. (1973) was applied to the atmosphere over the Tibetan Plateau, and used to estimate the vertical mass flux, entrainment and detrainment, excess temperature and moisture, liquid water content, and condensation and precipitation rates of highland cloud clusters. The results illustrated that in clouds over the Tibetan Plateau, the water vapor condensation rate, liquid water content, and efficiency of the rain generation process are less than those in the tropics (represented by the Marshall Islands region). Therefore, the condensational latent heat released over the Tibetan Plateau, overall, is much smaller than that in the tropics. The water vapor and liquid water detrainment from shallow nonprecipitating cumulus clouds, and their entrainment into deep cumulus clouds, serve as a growing mechanism for the deep precipitating cumulus towers over the Tibetan Plateau. It should be noted that there is a stronger detrainment of liquid water from cumulus clouds and a stronger re—evaporation rate in environment. The process of the condensation—detrainment—re—evaporation— entrainment is repeatedly in progress. It would play an important role in maintaining of cumulus convection on the condition that the supply of moisture is not plentiful over the Tibetan Plateau.

The analyses also showed that the cloud mass fluxM c over the Tibetan Plateau is less, and the large—scale average upward motion is much less than those over the Marshall Islands. Stronger compensating downward motion in the cloud environment over the Tibetan Plateau, responsible for the area's strong environmental heating rate was revealed, and would link to the stability of the South Asian High in summer.


Tibetan Plateau Mass Flux Liquid Water Content Cloud Base Cumulus Convection 
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Copyright information

© Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duan Tingyang
    • 1
  • Elmar R. Reiter
    • 2
  1. 1.Chengdu Institute of MeteorologyChengdu, Sichuan Province
  2. 2.Center for Cybernetic Communication ResearchColorado State UniversityFort CollinsU.S.A.

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