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Spatial-temporal variation of near-surface temperature lapse rates over the Tianshan Mountains, central Asia

Yan-Jun Shen, Yanjun Shen, Jason Goetz, Alexander Brenning

Adequate estimates of near‐surface temperature lapse rate (γlocal) are needed to represent air temperature in remote mountain regions with sparse instrumental records such as the mountains of central Asia. To identify the spatial and temporal variations of γlocal in the Tianshan Mountains, long‐term (1961–2011) daily maximum, mean, and minimum temperature (Tmax, Tmean, and Tmin) data from 17 weather stations and 1 year of temperature logger data were analyzed considering three subregions: northern slopes, Kaidu Basin, and southern slopes. Simple linear regression was performed to identify relationships between elevation and temperature, revealing spatial and seasonal variations in γlocal. The γlocal are higher on the southern slopes than the northern slopes due to topography and regional climate conditions. Seasonally, γlocal are more pronounced higher in the summer than in the winter months. The γlocal are generally higher for Tmax than Tmean and Tmin. The Kaidu Basin shows similar seasonal variability but with the highest γlocal for Tmean and Tmin occurring in the spring. Formation of γlocal patterns is associated with the interactions of climate factors in different subregions. Overall, annual mean γlocal for Tmax, Tmean, and Tmin in the study's subregions are lower than the standard atmospheric lapse rate (6.5°C km−1), which would therefore be an inadequate choice for representing the near‐surface temperature conditions in this area. Our findings highlight the importance of spatial and temporal variations of γlocal in hydrometeorological research in the data‐sparse Tianshan Mountains.


Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 121, No. 23. (16 December 2016), pp. 14006-14017, https://doi.org/10.1002/2016jd025711 
Key: INRMM:14566902

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