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On the Scale Interactions that Dominate the Maintenance of a Persistent Heavy Rainfall Event: A Piecewise Energy Analysis

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  • 1 International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 2 Laboratory of Cloud–Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 3 Laboratory of Cloud–Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

Persistent heavy rainfall events (PHREs) are the product of the combined effects of multiscale systems. A PHRE that occurred during the 2016 mei-yu season was selected to further the understanding of the scale interactions accounting for the persistence of this type of event. The scale interactions were analyzed quantitatively using a piecewise energy budget based on temporal scale separation. Results show that the strongest interactions between the precipitation-related eddy flow and its background circulation (BC) occur in the mid- to lower troposphere, where a significant downscale kinetic energy (KE) cascade alone dominates eddy flow persistence. An obvious upscale KE cascade (i.e., a feedback effect) appears in the mid- to upper troposphere but has a negligible effect on the BC. Overall, within the precipitation region, the downscale KE cascade is primarily dependent on BC signals with shorter periods, whereas the upscale KE cascade is more dependent on BC signals with longer periods. Thus, the BC has asymmetric effects on the KE cascades. The most significant BC signal as determined via wavelet analysis [i.e., quasi-biweekly (10–18 days) oscillations in this event] does not play the leading role in the downscale KE cascade. Instead, the quasi-weekly oscillations provide the maximum amount of energy for eddy flow maintenance. Semi-idealized simulations of various BC signals show similar results: precipitation and the intensities of lower-level shear lines and transversal troughs (both of which are closely related to the precipitation-related eddy flow) are more sensitive to the quasi-weekly oscillation than to the quasi-biweekly oscillation.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Shen-Ming Fu, fusm@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

Persistent heavy rainfall events (PHREs) are the product of the combined effects of multiscale systems. A PHRE that occurred during the 2016 mei-yu season was selected to further the understanding of the scale interactions accounting for the persistence of this type of event. The scale interactions were analyzed quantitatively using a piecewise energy budget based on temporal scale separation. Results show that the strongest interactions between the precipitation-related eddy flow and its background circulation (BC) occur in the mid- to lower troposphere, where a significant downscale kinetic energy (KE) cascade alone dominates eddy flow persistence. An obvious upscale KE cascade (i.e., a feedback effect) appears in the mid- to upper troposphere but has a negligible effect on the BC. Overall, within the precipitation region, the downscale KE cascade is primarily dependent on BC signals with shorter periods, whereas the upscale KE cascade is more dependent on BC signals with longer periods. Thus, the BC has asymmetric effects on the KE cascades. The most significant BC signal as determined via wavelet analysis [i.e., quasi-biweekly (10–18 days) oscillations in this event] does not play the leading role in the downscale KE cascade. Instead, the quasi-weekly oscillations provide the maximum amount of energy for eddy flow maintenance. Semi-idealized simulations of various BC signals show similar results: precipitation and the intensities of lower-level shear lines and transversal troughs (both of which are closely related to the precipitation-related eddy flow) are more sensitive to the quasi-weekly oscillation than to the quasi-biweekly oscillation.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Shen-Ming Fu, fusm@mail.iap.ac.cn
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