New 3D Observing Network for Boundary Layer Meteorology on the Tibetan Plateau – Eurasia Review


The Tibetan plateau is a sensitive area and a natural laboratory of global climate change. Under global warming, the water cycle on the plateau has intensified, with not only increased precipitation, evapotranspiration, and surface runoff, but also glacial retreat, high snowmelt, and shortened ice time. These variations have led to frequent natural disasters, especially in mountainous regions. Thus, an accurate estimate of the intensity and variation of each component of the water cycle is a pressing scientific question for the assessment of shelf environmental change.

“A comprehensive 3D observation network has been successfully established over different regions covering all kinds of landscapes, including bare soils, alpine steppes, grasslands, forests, deserts, glaciers, lakes, etc. And, in addition to traditional automatic weather stations, devices such as eddy covariance systems, large aperture scintillometers, planetary boundary layer towers, wind profilers, microwave radiometers, radiosonde systems and cloud/precipitation radars have been installed or will be built,” says Professor Yaoming Ma of the Tibetan Plateau Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the authors of a Perspective article on the network, recently published in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters. “The network is important for understanding the physical mechanism involved in the earth-atmosphere and boundary-layer processes on the TP, and for simulating them numerically,” says Professor Ma..

The establishment of this observation network has been supported by many agencies and major projects, but especially the scientific expedition and research program of the second Tibetan plateau. The measurements will provide detailed information that can be used to better understand the transfer of water, heat and CO2 between the earth and the atmosphere, as well as to demonstrate their importance for the regional circulation of water and heat, and to validate and evaluate satellite recovery algorithms and numerical simulations, particularly in the context of climate change. regional climate on mountainous regions.

More importantly, the massive data and new devices being continuously acquired will provide an important basis for understanding the turbulence characteristics of the atmospheric boundary layer, as well as its convective activities and cloud microphysics, ultimately helping people in the region to make in the face of warming and a tendency to humidify the plateau. Certainly, the network will contribute to the promotion and development of boundary layer meteorology in the region and serve as a basis for the study of environmental changes and the prevention of natural hazards on the Tibetan plateau.


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