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World Water Tower: An Atmospheric Perspective


A large amount of water is stored in the world's highest and largest plateau, the Tibetan Plateau, in the forms of glaciers, snowpacks, lakes, and rivers. It is vital to understand where these waters come from and whether the supply to these water resources has been experiencing any changes during recent global warming. Here we show the maintenance of water content in the atmosphere over the Tibetan Plateau, the atmospheric circulations and transports of water vapor to this part of the world, and the trend of the water vapor supply. The Tibetan Plateau serves as a role of “the world water tower”, and its land-ocean-atmosphere interaction provides a profound impact on the global natural and climate environment. The analyses of a half-century time series of atmospheric water vapor, precipitation, and surface temperature indicate that the atmospheric supply to this water tower presents an increasing trend under recent global warming condition.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Accepted On
September 16, 2008
Fiscal Year
Publication Name
Geophysical Research Letters
Published On
October 01, 2008
Publisher Name
Amer Geophysical Union
Print Volume
Print Number


Not available


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.