starting point
himalayan lands
geologic past
environmental problems
flora and fauna

traveler's corner
guided tour

Data central
search the site
test your knowledge
about the site

Tibet himalayas

General Info
 ·  Trans Himalayas
 ·  Lhasa
 ·  Shigatse

Climate & vegetation
     Rainshadow Effect



The Yeti Factor

Photo Features
 ·  Glimpses of Buddhism
 ·  Invaluable Butter
 ·  Agriculture
 ·  Kailash and Mansarovar
 ·  Jokhang Temple

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
Tibet - The Roof of the World

Khamp -- the Tibetan Pheasant. Credit: Matjaz Vrecko
Khamp -- the Tibetan Pheasant
Credit: Matjaz Vrecko

Climate and vegetation
Tibet, the Roof of the World, is the highest plateau in the world. However, most of its land is arid or a semi-desert. The average annual precipitation is about 381 mm (about 15 inches) and is significantly less in some areas. Tibet experiences bitterly cold weather and is lashed by harsh winds throughout the year. The average annual temperature is around 1.1 degrees Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit).

The mountains are treeless, with only grasses and shrubs growing. Tibetan people live in the valleys of the Indus and the Brahmaputra, where they are able to grow some crops. The river valleys also support a few species of trees including oak, cypress, polar and maple. In addition, the people grow apple, peach, pear and apricot trees.

The rainshadow effect. Credit: Mahabir Pun
The rainshadow effect
Credit: Mahabir Pun

Rain Shadow Effect
The rainshadow effect is responsible for the aridity of Tibet. The Himalayas mainly get rain from the monsoon winds blowing in from the south. The monsoon winds, full of moisture picked up from the Indian ocean, cross over the subcontinent of India and reach the Himalayas. As the winds are obstructed by the high Himalayas, they condense and give heavy rainfall to the southern slopes of the Himalayas, which lie on the windward side of the mountains.

Most of the moisture in these winds gets exhausted and the air that finally crosses the main Himalayan ranges is rather dry. As a result, the Trans Himalayan regions receive very little rainfall. Therefore, Tibet and other regions lying in the northern part of the Himalayan system are said to lie in the rainshadow area of the Himalayas and hence get little rain. The lack of rain is responsible for making Tibet a very dry land.

Previous Topicmap top of page Index Next Topic
Make a submission View new Stories

© 1997 ThinkQuest team 10131
All rights reserved