Advances in Earth Science ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (10): 1025-1036. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2022.049

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An Overview of Research Methods on Water Vapor Transport and Sources in the Tibetan Plateau

Hu LI 1 , 3( ), Xiaoduo PAN 1 , 2( )   

  1. 1.Three-Pole Environment Observation and Big Data Research Center, State Key Laboratory of Tibetan Plateau Earth System Science, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2.Academy of Plateau Science and Sustainability, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810016, China
    3.University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-06-09 Revised:2022-07-18 Online:2022-10-10 Published:2022-10-18
  • Contact: Xiaoduo PAN;
  • About author:LI Hu (1998-), male, Rizhao City, Shandong Province, Master student. Research area includes numerical simulation of moisture over the Tibetan Plateau. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Projected supported by the Basic Science Center for Tibetan Plateau Earth System(41988101);The Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences Sub-project of the “Pan-Third Pole environmental change and Green Silk Road Construction”(XDA20060600)

Hu LI, Xiaoduo PAN. An Overview of Research Methods on Water Vapor Transport and Sources in the Tibetan Plateau[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2022, 37(10): 1025-1036.

The Tibetan Plateau, known as the “Asian Water Tower”, is the source of many major rivers in Asia. Its energy and water cycle processes have important impacts on regional and global climate change. Understanding the water vapor transport process and the contribution of water vapor sources is crucial for clarifying the water vapor budget of the plateau. In this study, we analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the research methods used to study the transport and sources of water vapor on the Tibetan Plateau. The classical Euler method was used to study the qualitative features of water vapor transport by calculating the water vapor flux. In addition, Lagrangian trajectory models are essential tools for studying the quantitative characteristics of water vapor transport by simulating the trajectories of humid air parcels. Eulerian tracer methods can be run in parallel with climate models or a posteriori with reanalysis data to track the water vapor transport process. Physical water vapor tracers are powerful tools for studying the water vapor sources of precipitation by measuring stable water isotopes. This study primarily focused on reviewing relevant research on water vapor transport and sources over the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent areas. Based on these studies, the main water vapor channels and characteristics of water vapor transport over the Tibetan Plateau were summarized. The review concluded with a summary of the challenges of current research and a forecast of future research directions.

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