SPECIAL COLLECTION ON TIPEX-III

The Tibetan Plateau (TP) is a key area affecting forecasts of weather and climate in China and occurrences of extreme weather and climate events over the world. The China Meteorological Administration, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences jointly initiated the Third Tibetan Plateau Atmospheric Science Experiment (TIPEX-III) in 2013, with an 8–10-yr implementation plan. Since its preliminary field measurements conducted in 2013, routine automatic sounding systems have been deployed at Shiquanhe, Gaize, and Shenzha stations in western TP, where no routine sounding observations were available previously. The observatio-nal networks for soil temperature and soil moisture in the central and western TP have also been established. Meanwhile, the plateau-scale and regional-scale boundary layer observations, cloud–precipitation microphysical observations with multiple radars and aircraft campaigns, and tropospheric–stratospheric air composition observations at multiple sites, were performed. The results so far show that the turbulent heat exchange coefficient and sensible heat flux are remarkably lower than the earlier estimations at grassland, meadow, and bare soil surfaces of the central and western TP. Climatologically, cumulus clouds over the main body of the TP might develop locally instead of originating from the cumulus clouds that propagate northward from South Asia. The TIPEX-III observations up to now also reveal diurnal variations, macro- and microphysical characteristics, and water-phase transition mechanisms, of cumulus clouds at Naqu station. Moreover, TIPEX-III related studies have proposed a maintenance mechanism responsible for the Asian " atmospheric water tower” and demonstrated the effects of the TP heating anomalies on Afri-can, Asian, and North American climates. Additionally, numerical modeling studies show that the Γ distribution of raindrop size is more suitable for depicting the TP raindrop characteristics compared to the M–P distribution, the overestimation of sensible heat flux can be reduced via modifying the heat transfer parameterization over the TP, and considering climatic signals in some key areas of the TP can improve the skill for rainfall forecast in the central and eastern parts of China. Furthermore, the TIPEX-III has been promoting the technology in processing surface observations, soundings, and radar observations, improving the quality of satellite retrieved soil moisture and atmospheric water vapor content products as well as high-resolution gauge–radar–satellite merged rainfall products, and facilitating the meteorological monitoring, forecasting, and data sharing operations.