AbstractWhile El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influences the Indian summer monsoon, its impact on moisture transport towards the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP) remains poorly understood. Precipitation stable isotopes are the useful indices on climate change in the TP. Classical interpretations of variations of precipitation stable isotopes focus on local surface air temperature or precipitation amount. However, several latest studies suggested they may correlate with large-scale modes of variability, such as ENSO. Here we present a detailed study of ENSO effect on annual variations of 𝛿18Op (oxygen stable isotopic composition of precipitation) at Lhasa in the southern TP for up to ten years. The stable isotopic composition of water vapor from satellite data (Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES)) and simulations from isotopically enabled atmospheric general circulation model (zoomed LMDZiso) are used to explore the mechanism that leads to variations of 𝛿18Op at Lhasa. Statistically significant correlations between 𝛿18Op and ENSO indices (Southern Oscillation index (SOI) and Niño 3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Index (Nino3.4)) are observed. We show that ENSO impacts on the location and intensity of convection over the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and tropical Indian Ocean, along moisture transport paths towards Lhasa; further impacts on convection from the northern Tibetan Plateau. The changing of these convections results in lower 𝛿18Op at Lhasa in 2007 La Niña year and higher 𝛿18Op in 2006 El Niño year. We confirm that the regional upstream convection related with ENSO teleconnections plays an important role on variations of 𝛿18Op at the inter-annual scale, and more depleted 𝛿18Ov (oxygen stable isotopic composition of vapor) from the northwest of India during La Niña year intensifies the lower 𝛿18Op at Lhasa in La Niña year. Our results have implications for the interpretation of past variations of archives with precipitation stable isotopes such as ice cores, tree rings, lake sediments or speleothems in this region.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Nov 8, 2017
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