Comparison of Rainfall Characteristics and Convective Properties of Monsoon Precipitation Systems over South China and the Yangtze and Huai River Basin

Yali Luo State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China

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Hui Wang State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, and Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Renhe Zhang State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China

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Weimiao Qian State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China

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Zhengzhao Luo Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and NOAA/CREST Center, City College, City University of New York, New York, New York

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Abstract

Rainfall characteristics and convective properties of monsoon precipitation systems over South China (SC) and the Yangtze and Huai River basin (YHRB) are investigated using multiple satellite products, surface rainfall observations, NCEP reanalysis, and weather maps. Comparisons between SC and YHRB are made for their monsoon active periods and their subseasonal variations from the premonsoon to monsoon and further to postmonsoon periods. The principal findings are as follows. (i) During the monsoon active period, region-averaged rain accumulation is greater in SC due to more frequent occurrence of precipitation systems; however, heavy rainfall contribution is greater in YHRB. These differences are related to more intense convective motion over the YHRB in association with the flatter land and more concurrent presence and stronger intensity of the low-level vortices and surface fronts. (ii) Largely in agreement with the subseasonal variations of the atmospheric thermodynamic conditions, convective intensity is enhanced progressively from the premonsoon to the monsoon and further to the postmonsoon period in both regions, as suggested by most convection proxies, except for lightning flash rate, which decreases substantially over SC but increases slightly over the YHRB from the premonsoon to the monsoon period. (iii) Compared to the monsoon active period, precipitation storms in both regions during the postmonsoon and monsoon break periods are more controlled by local instability due to solar heating but less controlled by larger-scale weather systems. This scale difference in the driving mechanisms leads to the smaller horizontal extent of the precipitation systems during the postmonsoon and monsoon break periods and also to the more pronounced afternoon peaks in precipitation system occurrence in the postmonsoon period.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yali Luo, State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China. E-mail: yali@cams.cma.gov.cn

Abstract

Rainfall characteristics and convective properties of monsoon precipitation systems over South China (SC) and the Yangtze and Huai River basin (YHRB) are investigated using multiple satellite products, surface rainfall observations, NCEP reanalysis, and weather maps. Comparisons between SC and YHRB are made for their monsoon active periods and their subseasonal variations from the premonsoon to monsoon and further to postmonsoon periods. The principal findings are as follows. (i) During the monsoon active period, region-averaged rain accumulation is greater in SC due to more frequent occurrence of precipitation systems; however, heavy rainfall contribution is greater in YHRB. These differences are related to more intense convective motion over the YHRB in association with the flatter land and more concurrent presence and stronger intensity of the low-level vortices and surface fronts. (ii) Largely in agreement with the subseasonal variations of the atmospheric thermodynamic conditions, convective intensity is enhanced progressively from the premonsoon to the monsoon and further to the postmonsoon period in both regions, as suggested by most convection proxies, except for lightning flash rate, which decreases substantially over SC but increases slightly over the YHRB from the premonsoon to the monsoon period. (iii) Compared to the monsoon active period, precipitation storms in both regions during the postmonsoon and monsoon break periods are more controlled by local instability due to solar heating but less controlled by larger-scale weather systems. This scale difference in the driving mechanisms leads to the smaller horizontal extent of the precipitation systems during the postmonsoon and monsoon break periods and also to the more pronounced afternoon peaks in precipitation system occurrence in the postmonsoon period.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yali Luo, State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China. E-mail: yali@cams.cma.gov.cn
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