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Mesoscale Analysis of Heavy Rainfall Episodes from SoWMEX/TiMREX

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The authors analyze the mesoscale structure accompanying two multiday periods of heavy rainfall during the Southwest Monsoon Experiment and the Terrain-Induced Mesoscale Rainfall Experiment conducted over and near Taiwan during May and June 2008. Each period is about 5–6 days long with episodic heavy rainfall events within. These events are shown to correspond primarily to periods when well-defined frontal boundaries are established near the coast. The boundaries are typically 1 km deep or less and feature contrasts of virtual temperature of only 2°–3°C. Yet, owing to the extremely moist condition of the upstream conditionally unstable air, these boundaries appear to exert a profound influence on convection initiation or intensification near the coast. Furthermore, the boundaries, once established, are long lived, possibly reinforced through cool downdrafts and prolonged by the absence of diurnal heating over land in generally cloudy conditions. These boundaries are linked phenomenologically with coastal fronts that occur at higher latitudes.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Christopher A. Davis, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80301. E-mail: cdavis@ucar.edu

Abstract

The authors analyze the mesoscale structure accompanying two multiday periods of heavy rainfall during the Southwest Monsoon Experiment and the Terrain-Induced Mesoscale Rainfall Experiment conducted over and near Taiwan during May and June 2008. Each period is about 5–6 days long with episodic heavy rainfall events within. These events are shown to correspond primarily to periods when well-defined frontal boundaries are established near the coast. The boundaries are typically 1 km deep or less and feature contrasts of virtual temperature of only 2°–3°C. Yet, owing to the extremely moist condition of the upstream conditionally unstable air, these boundaries appear to exert a profound influence on convection initiation or intensification near the coast. Furthermore, the boundaries, once established, are long lived, possibly reinforced through cool downdrafts and prolonged by the absence of diurnal heating over land in generally cloudy conditions. These boundaries are linked phenomenologically with coastal fronts that occur at higher latitudes.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Christopher A. Davis, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80301. E-mail: cdavis@ucar.edu
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