17 Mar 2022
17 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Characterizing basin-scale precipitation gradients in the Third Pole region and associated determinants

Yaozhi Jiang1, Kun Yang1,2, Hua Yang2, Hui Lu1, Yingying Chen2, Xu Zhou2, Jing Sun1, Yuan Yang3, and Yan Wang4 Yaozhi Jiang et al.
  • 1Department of Earth System Science, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Institute for Global Change Studies, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • 2National Tibetan Plateau Data Center, State Key Laboratory of Tibetan Plateau Earth System, Environment and Resources, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3Institute of Science and Technology, China Three Gorges Corporation, Beijing, China
  • 4Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Abstract. Altitudinal precipitation gradient plays an important role in the interpolation of precipitation in the Third Pole (TP) region, where the topography is very complex but in-situ data are very sparse. This study proves that the altitude dependence of precipitation in the TP can be reasonably reproduced by high-resolution atmospheric simulations. Results show that most of the sub-basins have positive relative precipitation gradients (RPGs, precipitation changes per 100 m elevation difference relative to basin-average precipitation) among the 388 sub-basins of the TP. The RPGs derived from annual mean precipitation range from about -5.00 % in the Himalaya region to more than 20.00 % in the Qaidam Basin. Generally, the RPGs are large in the center of TP, but small in the east and west, meanwhile, they are large in winter and spring but small in summer and autumn. Such a spatiotemporal pattern is related to the local weather conditions. Further analyses demonstrate that the RPGs have strong negative correlations with relative humidity but strong positive correlations with wind speed, which is because dry air tends to reach saturation at high altitudes, while stronger wind can bring more humid air to high altitudes. These findings provide useful information for the interpolation of precipitation within and beyond the TP, and are expected to provide some references to further hydrometeorological applications.

Yaozhi Jiang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2022-103', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Apr 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Kun Yang, 24 Apr 2022
      • RC2: 'Reply on AC1', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Apr 2022
        • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Kun Yang, 11 May 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on hess-2022-103', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Apr 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Kun Yang, 11 May 2022

Yaozhi Jiang et al.

Yaozhi Jiang et al.


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Short summary
Our study quantified the altitudinal precipitation gradients (PGs) over the Third Pole (TP) where rain gauges are sparse. The PGs are large in the center of TP, but small in the east and west, meanwhile, they are large in dry seasons but small in wet seasons. We also found PGs are positively correlated with wind speed but negatively correlated with relative humidity. The findings can assist precipitation interpolation and further advance our understanding of the water cycle in this region.