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Yongliang Jiao
,
Ren Li
,
Tonghua Wu
,
Lin Zhao
,
Xiaodong Wu
,
Junjie Ma
,
Jimin Yao
,
Guojie Hu
,
Yao Xiao
,
Shuhua Yang
,
Wenhao Liu
,
Yongping Qiao
,
Jianzong Shi
,
Erji Du
,
Xiaofan Zhu
, and
Shenning Wang

Abstract

Climate changes significantly impact the hydrological cycle. Precipitation is one of the most important atmospheric inputs to the terrestrial hydrologic system, and its variability considerably influences environmental and socioeconomic development. Atmospheric warming intensifies the hydrological cycle, increasing both atmospheric water vapor concentration and global precipitation. The relationship between heavy precipitation and temperature has been extensively investigated in literature. However, the relationship in different percentile ranges has not been thoroughly analyzed. Moreover, a percentile-based regression provides a simple but effective framework for investigation into other factors (precipitation type) affecting this relationship. Herein, a comprehensive investigation is presented on the temperature dependence of daily precipitation in various percentile ranges over the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. The results show that 1) most stations exhibit a peaklike scaling structure, while the northeast part and south margin of the plateau exhibit monotonic positive and negative scaling structures, respectively. The scaling structure is associated with the precipitation type, and 2) the positive and negative scaling rates exhibit similar spatial patterns, with stronger (weaker) sensitivity in the south (north) part of the plateau. The overall increase rate of daily precipitation with temperature is scaled by Clausius–Clapeyron relationship. 3) The higher percentile of daily precipitation shows a larger positive scaling rate than the lower percentile. 4) The peak-point temperature is closely related to the local temperature, and the regional peak-point temperature is roughly around 10°C.

Significance Statement

This study aims to better understand the relationship between precipitation and surface air temperature in various percentile ranges over the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. This is important because percentile-based regression not only accurately describes the response of precipitation to warming temperature but also provides a simple but effective framework for investigating other factors (precipitation type) that may be affecting this relationship. Furthermore, the sensitivity and peak-point temperature are evaluated and compared among different regions and percentile ranges; this study also attempts to outline their influencing factors. To our knowledge, this study is the first integration of percentile-based analysis of the dependence of daily precipitation on surface air temperature.

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He Sun
,
Tandong Yao
,
Fengge Su
,
Zhihua He
,
Guoqiang Tang
,
Ning Li
,
Bowen Zheng
,
Jingheng Huang
,
Fanchong Meng
,
Tinghai Ou
, and
Deliang Chen

Abstract

Precipitation is one of the most important atmospheric inputs to hydrological models. However, existing precipitation datasets for the Third Pole (TP) basins show large discrepancies in precipitation magnitudes and spatiotemporal patterns, which poses a great challenge to hydrological simulations in the TP basins. In this study, a gridded (10 km × 10 km) daily precipitation dataset is constructed through a random-forest-based machine learning algorithm (RF algorithm) correction of the ERA5 precipitation estimates based on 940 gauges in 11 upper basins of TP for 1951–2020. The dataset is evaluated by gauge observations at point scale and is inversely evaluated by the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrological model linked with a glacier melt algorithm (VIC-Glacier). The corrected ERA5 (ERA5_cor) agrees well with gauge observations after eliminating the severe overestimation in the original ERA5 precipitation. The corrections greatly reduce the original ERA5 precipitation estimates by 10%–50% in 11 basins of the TP and present more details on precipitation spatial variability. The inverse hydrological model evaluation demonstrates the accuracy and rationality, and we provide an updated estimate of runoff components contribution to total runoff in seven upper basins in the TP based on the VIC-Glacier model simulations with the ERA5_cor precipitation. This study provides good precipitation estimates with high spatiotemporal resolution for 11 upper basins in the TP, which are expected to facilitate the hydrological modeling and prediction studies in this high mountainous region.

Significance Statement

The Third Pole (TP) is the source of water to the people living in the areas downstream. Precipitation is the key driver of the terrestrial hydrological cycle and the most important atmospheric input to land surface hydrological models. However, none of the current precipitation data are equally good for all the TP basins because of high variabilities in their magnitudes and spatiotemporal patterns, posing a great challenge to the hydrological simulation. Therefore, in this study, a gridded daily precipitation dataset (10 km × 10 km) is reconstructed through a random-forest-based machine learning algorithm correction of ERA5 precipitation estimates based on 940 gauges in 11 TP basins for 1951–2020. The data eliminate the severe overestimation of original ERA5 precipitation estimates and present more reasonable spatial variability, and also exhibit a high potential for hydrological application in the TP basins. This study provides long-term precipitation data for climate and hydrological studies and a reference for deriving precipitation in high mountainous regions with complex terrain and limited observations.

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