Precipitation changes near Three Gorges Dam, China
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After Three Gorges Dam (TGD) was built in June 2003, the water level abruptly rose from 66 to 135 m. A second-order polynomial relationship between upstream water level and reservoir surface area is found using Landsat ETM+ images. The impact of TGD on regional precipitation is examined using NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) from 1998 to 2009. Satellite estimates are found to have good quality after verifying with rain gauges following several methods. Monthly epoch analyses are performed. While composites of heavy rain days (top 25 percentile) do not show major distinguishable changes, composites of moderate rain days (mid 50 percentile) suggest that in the “Post Dam” periods, moderate precipitation is greatly reduced in the vicinity of the reservoir, while increased on both sides away from the reservoir. Overall, this analysis presents one of the most thorough and long-term analyses of TGD-hydroclimate relationships to date.