Climate and Environmental Change

Cluster analysis on summer precipitation field over Qinghai–Tibet Plateau from 1961 to 2004

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China|
    2. Graduate university of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China

Received date: 2008-03-07

  Revised date: 2008-05-29

  Online published: 2008-09-25

Supported by

CAS Action-plan for West Development, KZCX2-XB2-06-03; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.30500064


The summer day-by-day precipitation data of 97 meteorological stations on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau from 1961 to 2004 were selected to analyze the temporal-spatial dis-tribution through accumulated variance, correlation analysis, regression analysis, empirical orthogonal function, power spectrum function and spatial analysis tools of GIS. The result showed that summer precipitation occupied a relatively high proportion in the area with less annual precipitation on the Plateau and the correlation between summer precipitation and annual precipitation was strong. The altitude of these stations and summer precipitation ten-dency presented stronger positive correlation below 2000 m, with correlation value up to 0.604 (α=0.01). The subtracting tendency values between 1961–1983 and 1984–2004 at five altitude ranges (2000–2500 m, 2500–3000 m, 3500–4000 m, 4000–4500 m and above 4500 m) were above zero and accounted for 71.4% of the total. Using empirical orthogonal function, summer precipitation could be roughly divided into three precipitation pattern fields: the Southeast Plateau Pattern Field, the Northeast Plateau Pattern field and the Three Rivers' Headstream Regions Pattern Field. The former two ones had a reverse value from the north to the south and opposite line was along 35°N. The potential cycles of the three pattern fields were 5.33a, 21.33a and 2.17a respectively, tested by the confidence probability of 90%. The station altitudes and summer precipitation potential cycles presented strong negative corre-lation in the stations above 4500 m, with correlation value of –0.626 (α=0.01). In Three Rivers Headstream Regions summer precipitation cycle decreased as the altitude rose in the sta-tions above 3500 m and increased as the altitude rose in those below 3500 m. The empirical orthogonal function analysis in June precipitation, July precipitation and August precipitation showed that the June precipitation pattern field was similar to the July’s, in which southern Plateau was positive and northern Plateau negative. But positive value area in July precipita-tion pattern field was obviously less than June’s. The August pattern field was totally opposite to June’s and July’s. The positive area in August pattern field jumped from the southern Pla-teau to the northern Plateau.

Cite this article

LU Heli, SHAO Quanqin, LIU Jiyuan, WANG Junbang, CHEN Shenbin, CHEN Zhuoqi . Cluster analysis on summer precipitation field over Qinghai–Tibet Plateau from 1961 to 2004[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2008 , 18(3) : 295 -307 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-008-0295-y