Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2018, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (6): 493-501.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2018.00493

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Local meteorology in a northern Himalayan valley near Mount Everest and its response to seasonal transitions

FangLin Sun1,2,*(),YaoMing Ma2,3,4,ZeYong Hu1,2   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
    2 China University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3 Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    4 CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2018-09-06 Accepted:2018-11-06 Online:2018-12-01 Published:2018-12-29
  • Contact: FangLin Sun
  • Supported by:
    This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41661144043, 41005010, 41475010), the Strategic Priority Research Program (A) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant XDA20060101), and R & D Special Fund for Public Welfare Industry (meteorology), No. GYHY201406001. The authors thank the staff of QOMS, who provided lots of help in the field observation for this research or in data access.


An automatic weather station (AWS) has been installed at the Qomolangma Station of the China Academy of Sciences (QOMS) since 2005, in a northern Himalayan valley near Mount Everest, with an altitude of 4,270 m a.s.l.. Nine years of meteorological records (2006–2014) from the automatic weather station (AWS) were analyzed in this study, aiming to understand the response of local weather to the seasonal transition on the northern slopes of Mount Everest, with consideration of the movement of the subtropical jet (STJ) and the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM). We found: (1) Both the synoptic circulation and the orography have a profound influence on the local weather, especially the local circulation. (2) Southwesterly (SW) and southeasterly (SE) winds prevail alternately at QOMS in the afternoon through the year. The SW wind was driven by the STJ during the non-monsoon months, while the SE was induced by the trans-Himalayan flow through the Arun Valley, a major valley to the east of Mount Everest, under a background of weak westerly winds aloft. (3) The response of air temperature (T) and specific humidity (q) to the monsoon onset is not as marked as that of the nearsurface winds. The q increases gradually and reaches a maximum in July when the rainy period begins. (4) The alternation between the SW wind at QOMS and the afternoon SE wind in the pre-monsoon season signals the northward shift of the STJ and imminent monsoon onset. The average interval between these two events is 14 days.

Key words: mountain meteorology, monsoon onset, Trans-Himalayan flow, orography influence

Figure 1

(a): topography of the Mt. Everest region, with locations discussed in the text: Arun Valley, Qomolangma station (QOMS). (b): Photos taken at QOMS (upper) and in the Arun Valley (lower)"

Table 1

Availability (%) of Meteorological Data at QOMS, 2006–2014"

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Availability (%) 99.6 99.7 89.9 98 80.6 99.1 98.8 89.9 95.9

Table 2

Monthly climatological statistics values at QOMS, based on data during 2006–2014"

Item Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
U200 Mean 52.9 50.3 41.2 30.9 24.7 13.6 0.8 ?1.1 11.3 30.3 44.5 53.4
ISMIDX Mean ?6.1 ?6.2 ?5.9 ?4.7 ?1.6 5.4 8.2 6.7 5.3 ?0.67 ?3.6 ?5.3
Max 10.53 9.63 13.88 16.73 19.93 21.72 23.10 21.42 20.33 17.71 14.32 14.03
T Mean ?3.72 ?3.28 ?0.37 3.27 6.37 9.86 12.04 9.98 9.50 3.79 ?0.55 ?2.71
Min ?17.89 ?17.40 ?13.37 ?9.02 ?4.29 0.70 4.32 2.99 ?0.33 ?8.82 ?12.56 ?16.84
SP Max 1.88 2.71 2.99 3.88 6.23 8.87 10.03 9.80 8.53 6.24 3.09 2.13
Mean 0.81 1.16 1.62 2.56 3.95 5.89 8.62 7.58 6.89 3.64 1.64 1.03
Wind Max 12.14 10.46 9.29 7.19 6.00 5.74 5.16 4.77 4.87 6.01 9.01 10.27
Mean 5.34 5.60 5.10 4.67 4.03 4.04 4.04 3.25 3.74 3.89 4.22 5.20
DSR Mean 200.4 237.8 270.3 329.4 318.6 315.0 282.6 267.3 269.7 257.2 214.3 190.0

Figure 2

Temporal development of multiyear average (a) Indian Summer Monsoon Index (ISMIDX) and zonal wind at 200 hPa (U200). Mean values are in black, and standard deviations are in grey; (b) daily mean air temperature (T), 10-minute values are in grey; (c) specific humidity (q), 10-minute values are in grey; (d) U components; and (e) V components of surface winds at QOMS during 2009–2014; Y axis of (d) and (e) are hours of a day "

Figure 3

Temporal development of (a) Indian Summer Monsoon Index (ISMIDX) and zonal wind at 200 hPa (U200); (b) daily mean air temperature (T), 10-minutes values are in grey; (c) specific humidity (q), 10-minute values are in grey; (d) downward shortwave radiation (DSR); (e) U components; and (f) V components of surface winds at QOMS in 2009; Y axis of (d) and (e) are hours of a day. Red line on (d) is downward radiation on top of the atmosphere "

Figure 4

Typical diurnal variations of near-surface wind, air temperature (T), specific humidity (q), and downward shortwave radiation (DSR) in different seasons of 2009. The title of each subfigure shows the date and respective daily mean zonal wind at 200 hPa (U200) "

Table 3

Dates of southwesterly wind's (SW) end and monsoon onset at QOMS, 2006–2014"

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
SW wind's end May 4 May 30 May 4 May 9 Jun. 3 Apr. 29 May 21 May 12 May 26
Monsoon onset May 22 Jun. 1 Jun. 2 May 20 Jun. 6 May 27 Jun. 4 May 30 Jun. 7
1 Allaby M, 2010. Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate. Facts on File, Inc., New York.
2 Bolch T, Kulkarni A, Kaab A, et al. The state and fate of Himalayan glaciers. Science 2012; 336: 6079 310- 314.
doi: 10.1126/science.1215828
3 Bonasoni P, Laj P, Marinoni A, et al. Atmospheric Brown Clouds in the Himalayas: first two years of continuous observations at the Nepal Climate Observatory-Pyramid (5079 m). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2010; 10: 15 7515- 7531.
doi: 10.5194/acp-10-7515-2010
4 Cong ZY, Kang SC, Kawamura K, et al. Carbonaceous aerosols on the south edge of the Tibetan Plateau: concentrations, seasonality, and sources. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2015; 15: 3 1573- 1584.
doi: 10.5194/acp-15-1573-2015
5 Gautam MR, Timilsina GR, Acharya K, 2013. Climate Change in the Himalayas: Current State of Knowledge. Policy Research Working Papers, The World Bank. DOI: 10.1596/1813-9450-6516.
6 Kennett EJ, Toumi R Himalayan rainfall and vorticity generation within the Indian summer monsoon. Geophysical Research Letters 2005; 32: 4 L04 802.
doi: 10.1029/2004GL021925
7 Ma SP, Zhou LB, Zou H, et al. The role of snow/ice cover in the formation of a local Himalayan circulation. Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics 2013; 120: 45- 51.
doi: 10.1007/s00703-013-0236-x
8 Moore GWK, Semple JL High Himalayan meteorology: Weather at the South Col of Mount Everest. Geophysical Research Letters 2004; 31: 18 L18109.
doi: 10.1029/2004GL020621
9 Ohata T, Higuchi K, Ikegami K Mountain-Valley Wind System in the Khumbu Himal, East Nepal. Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan. Ser. II 1981; 59: 5 753- 762.
doi: 10.2151/jmsj1965.59.5_753
10 Schiemann R, Luthi D, Schar C Seasonality and Interannual Variability of the Westerly Jet in the Tibetan Plateau Region. Journal of Climate 2009; 22: 11 2940- 2957.
doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2625.1
11 Shah RDT, Sharma S, Haase P, et al. The climate sensitive zone along an altitudinal gradient in central Himalayan rivers: a useful concept to monitor climate change impacts in mountain regions. Climatic Change 2015; 132: 2 265- 278.
doi: 10.1007/s10584-015-1417-z
12 Shea JM, Wagnon P, Immerzeel WW, et al. A comparative high-altitude meteorological analysis from three catchments in the Nepalese Himalaya. International Journal of Water Resources Development 2015; 31: 2 174- 200.
doi: 10.1080/07900627.2015.1020417
13 Sun FL, Ma YM, Hu ZY, et al. Mechanism of Daytime Strong Winds on the Northern Slopes of Himalayas, near Mount Everest: Observation and Simulation. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2017; 57: 2 255- 272.
doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0409.1
14 Ueno K, Toyotsu K, Bertolani L, et al. Stepwise Onset of Monsoon Weather Observed in the Nepal Himalaya. Monthly Weather Review 2008; 136: 7 2507- 2522.
doi: 10.1175/2007MWR2298.1
15 Veettil B K, Bianchini N, Andrade AM, et al. Glacier changes and related glacial lake expansion in the Bhutan Himalaya, 1990-2010. Regional Environmental Change 2016; 16: 5 1267- 1278.
doi: 10.1007/s10113-015-0853-7
16 Wang B, Fan Z Choice of South Asian Summer Monsoon Indices. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 1999; 80: 4 629- 638.
doi: 10.1175/1520-0477(1999)080<0629:COSASM>2.0.CO;2
17 Webster PJ, Chou LC Seasonal Structure of a Simple Monsoon System. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 1980; 37: 2 354- 367.
doi: 10.1175/1520-0469(1980)037<0354:SSOASM>2.0.CO;2
18 Xu BQ, Wang M, Joswiak DR, et al. Deposition of anthropogenic aerosols in a southeastern Tibetan glacier. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 2009; 114: D17
doi: 10.1029/2008JD011510
19 Yasunari TJ, Tan Q, Lau KM, et al. Estimated range of black carbon dry deposition and the related snow albedo reduction over Himalayan glaciers during dry pre-monsoon periods. Atmospheric Environment 2013; 78: 259- 267.
doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.03.031
20 Zhou LB, Zou H, Ma SP, et al. Study on impact of the South Asian summer monsoon on the down-valley wind on the northern slope of Mt. Everest. Geophysical Research Letters 2008; 35: L14811.
doi: 10.1029/2008GL034151
21 Zou H, Zhou LB, Ma SP, et al. Local wind system in the Rongbuk Valley on the northern slope of Mt. Everest. Geophysical Research Letters 2008; 35: L13813.
doi: 10.1029/2008GL033466
No related articles found!
Full text



[1] Mohan Bahadur Chand,Rijan Bhakta Kayastha. Study of thermal properties of supraglacial debris and degree-day factors on Lirung Glacier, Nepal[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 357 -368 .
[2] AiHong Xie, ShiMeng Wang, YiCheng Wang, ChuanJin Li. Comparison of temperature extremes between Zhongshan Station and Great Wall Station in Antarctica[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 369 -378 .
[3] YanZai Wang, YongQiu Wu, MeiHui Pan, RuiJie Lu. Comparison of two classification methods to identify grain size fractions of aeolian sediment[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 413 -420 .
[4] YinHuan Ao, ShiHua Lyu, ZhaoGuo Li, LiJuan Wen, Lin Zhao. Numerical simulation of the climate effect of high-altitude lakes on the Tibetan Plateau[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 379 -391 .
[5] Zhuo Ga, Za Dui, Duodian Luozhu, Jun Du. Comparison of precipitation products to observations in Tibet during the rainy season[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 392 -403 .
[6] Rong Yang, JunQia Kong, ZeYu Du, YongZhong Su. Altitude pattern of carbon stocks in desert grasslands of an arid land region[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 404 -412 .
[7] Yang Qiu, ZhongKui Xie, XinPing Wang, YaJun Wang, YuBao Zhang, YuHui He, WenMei Li, WenCong Lv. Effect of slow-release iron fertilizer on iron-deficiency chlorosis, yield and quality of Lilium davidii var. unicolor in a two-year field experiment[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 421 -427 .
[8] Ololade A. Oyedapo,Joseph M. Agbedahunsi,H. C Illoh,Akinwumi J. Akinloye. Comparative foliar anatomy of three Khaya species (Meliaceae) used in Nigeria as antisickling agent[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(4): 279 -285 .
[9] YuMing Wei, XiaoFei Ma, PengShan Zhao. Transcriptomic comparison to identify rapidly evolving genes in Braya humilis[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 428 -435 .
[10] FangLei Zhong, AiJun Guo, XiaoJuan Yin, JinFeng Cui, Xiao Yang, YanQiong Zhang. Sociodemographic characteristics, cultural biases, and environmental attitudes: An empirical application of grid-group cultural theory in Northwestern China[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 436 -446 .