Abstract

The lake area in the Inner Mongolian Plateau (IMP) has experienced a rapid reduction in recent decades. Previous studies have highlighted the important role of intensive human activities in IMP lake shrinkage. However, this study found that climate change–induced summer precipitation variations can exert great influences on the IMP lake area variations. The results suggest that the decadal shift in the IMP summer precipitation may be the predominant contributor to lake shrinkage. Further analysis reveals that the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) and Arctic sea ice concentration (SIC) play important roles in the IMP summer precipitation variations. The AMO seems to provide beneficial large-scale circulation fields for the decadal variations in the IMP summer precipitation, and the Arctic SIC decline is favorable for weakening the IMP summer precipitation intensity after the late 1990s. Evidence indicates that the vorticity advection related to the Arctic SIC decline can result in the generation of Rossby wave resources in the midlatitudes. Then, the strengthened wave resources become favorable for enhancing the stationary wave propagation across Eurasia and inducing cyclonic circulation over the Mongolia–Baikal regions, which might bring more rainfall northward and weaken the IMP summer precipitation intensity. Consequently, due to the decreased rainfall and gradual warming after the late 1990s, the lake area in the IMP has experienced a downward trend in recent years.

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