40-Year Statistics of Warm-Season Extreme Hourly Precipitation over Southwest China

Rouyi Jiang aKey Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
dCollege of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Xiaopeng Cui aKey Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
bCollaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters (CIC-FEMD), Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing, China
cThe Institute of Atmospheric Environment, China Meteorological Administration, Shenyang, China
dCollege of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Jian Lin eNational Meteorological Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

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Jia Tian aKey Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
dCollege of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Abstract

Southwest China (SWC) possesses complicated topography with frequent geological activities, where heavy precipitation occurs frequently in warm seasons. Few previous studies on extreme precipitation were carried out at hourly scales. In this study, spatiotemporal variations of the extreme hourly precipitation (EHP) over SWC during the warm season of 1981–2020 and the involved mechanisms are investigated. Results show that the threshold and intensity of EHP present similar spatial distribution—lower (higher) in the west (east) part of SWC, while the EHP frequency is opposite. The long-term trend of EHP amount shows a more significant positive tendency than that of hourly precipitation (HP) amount due to synchronous increases in intensity and frequency. The significant increasing trend of EHP occurs in areas above 500-m terrain height, with a weak increasing trend below 500 m (e.g., Chongqing and eastern Sichuan). EHP appears mainly from June to August and exhibits a bimodal distribution in diurnal variation. The mechanism analysis demonstrates that occurrences of EHP are generally accompanied by positive anomalies of temperature, humidity, and geopotential height. Anomalous cyclonic circulation can also be found in the low-level wind field. The westward and northward extension of the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH) as well as temperature rise may be the primary reason for the increase of EHP. For Chongqing and eastern Sichuan, the anticyclone circulation in low-level and the significantly weakened water vapor flux convergence cause poor moisture and dynamic conditions, inhibiting the growth of EHP.

Significance Statement

Heavy precipitation occurs frequently during the warm season in Southwest China (SWC), often causing severe impacts on human safety and economic property. This study analyses spatiotemporal variations of the extreme hourly precipitation (EHP) over SWC during the warm season of 1981–2020 and the involved mechanisms. The increasing trend of EHP far exceeds that of hourly precipitation (HP), especially in areas above 500 m. The westward and northward extension of the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH) and temperature rise may be the main reason for the increase of EHP. For areas below 500 m (e.g., Chongqing and eastern Sichuan), poor moisture and dynamic conditions inhibited the growth of EHP.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Xiaopeng Cui, xpcui@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

Southwest China (SWC) possesses complicated topography with frequent geological activities, where heavy precipitation occurs frequently in warm seasons. Few previous studies on extreme precipitation were carried out at hourly scales. In this study, spatiotemporal variations of the extreme hourly precipitation (EHP) over SWC during the warm season of 1981–2020 and the involved mechanisms are investigated. Results show that the threshold and intensity of EHP present similar spatial distribution—lower (higher) in the west (east) part of SWC, while the EHP frequency is opposite. The long-term trend of EHP amount shows a more significant positive tendency than that of hourly precipitation (HP) amount due to synchronous increases in intensity and frequency. The significant increasing trend of EHP occurs in areas above 500-m terrain height, with a weak increasing trend below 500 m (e.g., Chongqing and eastern Sichuan). EHP appears mainly from June to August and exhibits a bimodal distribution in diurnal variation. The mechanism analysis demonstrates that occurrences of EHP are generally accompanied by positive anomalies of temperature, humidity, and geopotential height. Anomalous cyclonic circulation can also be found in the low-level wind field. The westward and northward extension of the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH) as well as temperature rise may be the primary reason for the increase of EHP. For Chongqing and eastern Sichuan, the anticyclone circulation in low-level and the significantly weakened water vapor flux convergence cause poor moisture and dynamic conditions, inhibiting the growth of EHP.

Significance Statement

Heavy precipitation occurs frequently during the warm season in Southwest China (SWC), often causing severe impacts on human safety and economic property. This study analyses spatiotemporal variations of the extreme hourly precipitation (EHP) over SWC during the warm season of 1981–2020 and the involved mechanisms. The increasing trend of EHP far exceeds that of hourly precipitation (HP), especially in areas above 500 m. The westward and northward extension of the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH) and temperature rise may be the main reason for the increase of EHP. For areas below 500 m (e.g., Chongqing and eastern Sichuan), poor moisture and dynamic conditions inhibited the growth of EHP.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Xiaopeng Cui, xpcui@mail.iap.ac.cn
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