Atmospheric moisture transport versus precipitation across the Tibetan Plateau: A mini-review and current challenges
The Tibetan Plateau (TP), being an average of surpassing 4000 m above sea level and around 2.5 × 106 km2, is the highest and largest plateau in the world and also called as the "Third Pole". Due to its elevated land surface and complex terrain, the TP is subjected to combined regulations of multiple climate systems and associated large-scale atmospheric circulations. In this paper, we comprehensively review the recent studies of atmospheric moisture transport versus precipitation across the TP, with the attempt to link the two, which did not receive much attention previously. This review focuses on the atmospheric moisture transport and associated circulation patterns in this region, widely adopted approaches to identify the atmospheric moisture transport, qualitative and quantitative analyses for the role of water vapor transport on the precipitation, as well as the internal physical mechanism between atmospheric moisture transport and precipitation over the TP. Moreover, directions of future research are discussed based on the following aspects, which include 1) proposing an integrated statistical-physical framework for demonstrating the influence of atmospheric moisture transport and associated circulation patterns on the precipitation, especially the extremes, in the high-cold mountainous region; 2) quantifying the contribution of atmospheric water vapor from the surrounding sources as well as the local moisture recycling on the TP's precipitation; 3) providing higher quality data for atmospheric water vapor and precipitation; 4) emphasizing on the physical mechanism sustaining the atmospheric moisture transport as well as its potential influence on the extreme precipitation, including amount, frequency, intensity and duration. It is expected that this review will be beneficial for exploring the linkage between atmospheric moisture transport versus precipitation across the TP.