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Guoxiong Wu, Yimin Liu, Qiong Zhang, Anmin Duan, Tongmei Wang, Rijin Wan, Xin Liu, Weiping Li, Zaizhi Wang, and Xiaoyun Liang

Abstract

This paper attempts to provide some new understanding of the mechanical as well as thermal effects of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) on the circulation and climate in Asia through diagnosis and numerical experiments. The air column over the TP descends in winter and ascends in summer and regulates the surface Asian monsoon flow. Sensible heating on the sloping lateral surfaces appears from the authors’ experiments to be the major driving source. The retarding and deflecting effects of the TP in winter generate an asymmetric dipole zonal-deviation circulation, with a large anticyclone gyre to the north and a cyclonic gyre to the south. Such a dipole deviation circulation enhances the cold outbreaks from the north over East Asia, results in a dry climate in south Asia and a moist climate over the Indochina peninsula and south China, and forms the persistent rainfall in early spring (PRES) in south China. In summer the TP heating generates a cyclonic spiral zonal-deviation circulation in the lower troposphere, which converges toward and rises over the TP. It is shown that because the TP is located east of the Eurasian continent, in summertime the meridional winds and vertical motions forced by the Eurasian continental-scale heating and the TP local heating are in phase over the eastern and central parts of the continent. The monsoon in East Asia and the dry climate in middle Asia are therefore intensified.

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