Responses of Hail and Storm Days to Climate Change in the Tibetan Plateau

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There is increasing concern that local severe storm occurrence may be changing as a result of climate change. The Tibetan Plateau (TP), as one of the world’s most sensitive areas to climate change, became significantly warmer during recent decades. Since 1960 (1980), storm (hail) days have been decreasing by 6.2%/decade (18.3%/decade) in the region. However, what cause the frequency changes of storm and hail in the TP is largely unknown. Based on 53-year continuous weather records at 48 TP stations and reanalysis data, we show here for the first time that the consistent decline of storm days is strongly related to a drier mid-troposphere since 1960. Further analysis demonstrated that fewer hail days are driven by an elevation of the melting level (thermodynamically) and a weaker wind shear (dynamically) in a warming climate. These results imply that less storm and hail may occur over TP when climate warms.





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Zou, Tian, Qinghong Zhang, WENHONG Li and Jihong Li (n.d.). Responses of Hail and Storm Days to Climate Change in the Tibetan Plateau. Geophysical Research Letters. 10.1029/2018GL077069 Retrieved from

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Wenhong Li

Associate Professor of Climate

Dr. Li's research interests focus primarily on climate dynamics, land-atmosphere interaction, hydroclimatology, and climate modeling. Her current research is to understand how the hydrological cycle changes in the current and future climate and their impacts on the ecosystems, subtropical high variability and change, unforced global temperature variability, and climate and health issues.

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