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Kun Yang
Xiaofeng Guo
Jie He
Jun Qin
, and
Toshio Koike


Atmospheric heating over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) enhances the Asian summer monsoon. This study presents a state-of-the-art estimate of the heating components and their total over the TP, with the aid of high-accuracy experimental data, an updated land surface model, and carefully selected satellite data.

The new estimate differs from previous estimates in three aspects: 1) different seasonality—the new estimation shows the maximum total heat source occurs in July (the mature period of the monsoon), rather than in the previously reported month of May or June (around the onset of the monsoon), because previous studies greatly overestimated radiative cooling during the monsoon season [June–August (JJA)]; 2) different regional pattern—the eastern TP exhibits stronger heating than the western TP in summer, whereas previous studies gave either an opposite spatial pattern because of overestimated sensible heat flux over the western TP or an overall weaker heat source because of overestimated radiative cooling; and 3) different trend—sensible heat, radiative convergence, and the total heat source have decreased since the 1980s, but their weakening trends were overestimated in a recent study. These biases in previous studies are due to fairly empirical methods and data that were not evaluated against experimental data.

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