Evolution, Structure, Cloud Microphysical, and Surface Rainfall Processes of Monsoon Convection during the South China Sea Monsoon Experiment

Jian-Jian Wang Goddard Center for Earth Science and Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, and Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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Xiaofan Li Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, and NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Lawrence D. Carey Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

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Abstract

A two-dimensional cloud-resolving simulation is combined with dual-Doppler and polarimetric radar analysis to study the evolution, dynamic structure, cloud microphysics, and rainfall processes of monsoon convection observed during the South China Sea (SCS) summer monsoon onset.

Overall, the model simulations show many similarities to the radar observations. The rainband associated with the convection remains at a very stable position throughout its life cycle in the northern SCS. The reflectivity pattern exhibits a straight upward structure with little tilt. The positions of the convective, transition, and stratiform regions produced by the model are consistent with the observations. The major difference from the observations is that the model tends to overestimate the magnitude of updraft. As a result, the maximum reflectivity generated by the model appears at an elevated altitude.

The surface rainfall processes and associated thermodynamic, dynamic, and cloud microphysical processes are examined by the model in terms of surface rainfall, temperature and moisture perturbations, circulations, and cloud microphysical budget. At the preformation and dissipating stages, although local vapor change and vapor convergence terms are the major contributors in determining rain rate, they cancel each other out and cause little rain. The vapor convergence/divergence is closely related to the lower-tropospheric updraft/subsidence during the early/late stages of the convection. During the formation and mature phases, vapor convergence term is in control of the rainfall processes. Meanwhile, water microphysical processes are dominant in these stages. The active vapor condensation process causes a large amount of raindrops through the collection of cloud water by raindrops. Ice microphysical processes including riming are negligible up to the mature phase but are dominant during the weakening stage. Cloud source/sink terms make some contributions to the rain rate at the formation and weakening stages, while the role of surface evaporation term is negligible throughout the life cycle of the convection.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jian-Jian Wang, Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: jjwang@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

A two-dimensional cloud-resolving simulation is combined with dual-Doppler and polarimetric radar analysis to study the evolution, dynamic structure, cloud microphysics, and rainfall processes of monsoon convection observed during the South China Sea (SCS) summer monsoon onset.

Overall, the model simulations show many similarities to the radar observations. The rainband associated with the convection remains at a very stable position throughout its life cycle in the northern SCS. The reflectivity pattern exhibits a straight upward structure with little tilt. The positions of the convective, transition, and stratiform regions produced by the model are consistent with the observations. The major difference from the observations is that the model tends to overestimate the magnitude of updraft. As a result, the maximum reflectivity generated by the model appears at an elevated altitude.

The surface rainfall processes and associated thermodynamic, dynamic, and cloud microphysical processes are examined by the model in terms of surface rainfall, temperature and moisture perturbations, circulations, and cloud microphysical budget. At the preformation and dissipating stages, although local vapor change and vapor convergence terms are the major contributors in determining rain rate, they cancel each other out and cause little rain. The vapor convergence/divergence is closely related to the lower-tropospheric updraft/subsidence during the early/late stages of the convection. During the formation and mature phases, vapor convergence term is in control of the rainfall processes. Meanwhile, water microphysical processes are dominant in these stages. The active vapor condensation process causes a large amount of raindrops through the collection of cloud water by raindrops. Ice microphysical processes including riming are negligible up to the mature phase but are dominant during the weakening stage. Cloud source/sink terms make some contributions to the rain rate at the formation and weakening stages, while the role of surface evaporation term is negligible throughout the life cycle of the convection.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jian-Jian Wang, Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: jjwang@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

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