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Statistical Characteristic of Heavy Rainfall Associated with Typhoons near Taiwan Based on High-Density Automatic Rain Gauge Data

Chun-Chieh WuDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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Tzu-Hsiung YenDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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Yi-Hsuan HuangDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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Cheng-Ku YuDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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Shin-Gan ChenCentral Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan

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Abstract

This study utilizes data compiled over 21 years (1993–2013) from the Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan to investigate the statistical characteristics of typhoon-induced rainfall for 53 typhoons that have impacted Taiwan. In this work the data are grouped into two datasets: one includes 21 selected conventional weather stations (referred to as Con-ST), and the other contains all the available rain gauges (250–500 gauges, mostly automatic ones; referred to as All-ST). The primary aim of this study is to understand the potential impacts of the different gauge distributions between All-ST and Con-ST on the statistical characteristics of typhoon-induced rainfall. The analyses indicate that although the average rainfall amount calculated with Con-ST is statistically similar to that with All-ST, the former cannot identify the precipitation extremes and rainfall distribution appropriately, especially in mountainous areas. Because very few conventional stations are located over the mountainous regions, the cumulative frequency obtained solely from Con-ST is not representative. As compared to the results from All-ST, the extreme rainfall assessed from Con-ST is, on average, underestimated by 23%–44% for typhoons approaching different portions of Taiwan. The uneven distribution of Con-ST, with only three stations located in the mountains higher than 1000 m, is likely to cause significant biases in the interpretation of rainfall patterns. This study illustrates the importance of the increase in the number of available stations in assessing the long-term rainfall characteristic of typhoon-associated heavy rainfall in Taiwan.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dr. Chun-Chieh Wu, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 106, Taiwan, E-mail: cwu@typhoon.as.ntu.edu.tw

Abstract

This study utilizes data compiled over 21 years (1993–2013) from the Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan to investigate the statistical characteristics of typhoon-induced rainfall for 53 typhoons that have impacted Taiwan. In this work the data are grouped into two datasets: one includes 21 selected conventional weather stations (referred to as Con-ST), and the other contains all the available rain gauges (250–500 gauges, mostly automatic ones; referred to as All-ST). The primary aim of this study is to understand the potential impacts of the different gauge distributions between All-ST and Con-ST on the statistical characteristics of typhoon-induced rainfall. The analyses indicate that although the average rainfall amount calculated with Con-ST is statistically similar to that with All-ST, the former cannot identify the precipitation extremes and rainfall distribution appropriately, especially in mountainous areas. Because very few conventional stations are located over the mountainous regions, the cumulative frequency obtained solely from Con-ST is not representative. As compared to the results from All-ST, the extreme rainfall assessed from Con-ST is, on average, underestimated by 23%–44% for typhoons approaching different portions of Taiwan. The uneven distribution of Con-ST, with only three stations located in the mountains higher than 1000 m, is likely to cause significant biases in the interpretation of rainfall patterns. This study illustrates the importance of the increase in the number of available stations in assessing the long-term rainfall characteristic of typhoon-associated heavy rainfall in Taiwan.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dr. Chun-Chieh Wu, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 106, Taiwan, E-mail: cwu@typhoon.as.ntu.edu.tw
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