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Development and Formation Mechanism of the Southeast Asian Winter Heavy Rainfall Events around the South China Sea. Part I: Formation and Propagation of Cold Surge Vortex

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  • 1 Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
  • | 2 Department of Geography, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, and Research Institute for Global Change, JAMSTEC, Yokosuka, Japan
  • | 3 Environmental Modeling Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, NOAA/Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, College Park, Maryland
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Abstract

Examination of the development of cold season heavy rainfall/flood (HRF) events around the South China Sea (SCS) from their parent cold surge vortices (CSVs) shows three new development processes. First, the formation mechanism of the parent CSV of an HRF event [CSV(HRF)] has a preference as to geographic location, flow type of the cold surge inside the SCS, and time of day. The surface trough east of the Philippines, Taiwan, and southern Japan island chain in late fall and the near-equator trough across Borneo in winter facilitate the CSV(HRF) formation in two regions—the vicinity of the Philippines and Borneo. The formation of the Philippine (Borneo) CSV(HRF) occurs at 0600 UTC (0000 UTC) with involvement from the Philippine Sea (PHS)-type (SCS type) of cold surge flow. Second, the flow type of the cold surge determines the CSV(HRF) propagation across the South China Sea. The PHS-type (SCS type) facilitates (hinders) the CSV(HRF) westward propagation. This occurs because the easterly (northerly) flow is greater than (less than) the northerly (easterly) flow at the maximum isotach location of the cold surge flow associated with CSV(HRF) and is centered east of the demarcation line for propagation. This flow-type contrast is substantiated by the vorticity budget analysis for CSV(HRF). The positive 925-hPa vorticity tendency is located west of (coincident with) the 925-hPa vorticity center for the PHS-type (SCS type) of cold surge. Third, the CSV(HRF) development into a HRF event is achieved through multiple interactions of former vortices with sequential cold surges across the South China Sea. The first two CSV(HRF) development processes are reported herein; the last process is presented in Part II.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00170.s1.

Corresponding author address: Tsing-Chang (Mike) Chen, Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, 3010 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: tmchen@iastate.edu

Abstract

Examination of the development of cold season heavy rainfall/flood (HRF) events around the South China Sea (SCS) from their parent cold surge vortices (CSVs) shows three new development processes. First, the formation mechanism of the parent CSV of an HRF event [CSV(HRF)] has a preference as to geographic location, flow type of the cold surge inside the SCS, and time of day. The surface trough east of the Philippines, Taiwan, and southern Japan island chain in late fall and the near-equator trough across Borneo in winter facilitate the CSV(HRF) formation in two regions—the vicinity of the Philippines and Borneo. The formation of the Philippine (Borneo) CSV(HRF) occurs at 0600 UTC (0000 UTC) with involvement from the Philippine Sea (PHS)-type (SCS type) of cold surge flow. Second, the flow type of the cold surge determines the CSV(HRF) propagation across the South China Sea. The PHS-type (SCS type) facilitates (hinders) the CSV(HRF) westward propagation. This occurs because the easterly (northerly) flow is greater than (less than) the northerly (easterly) flow at the maximum isotach location of the cold surge flow associated with CSV(HRF) and is centered east of the demarcation line for propagation. This flow-type contrast is substantiated by the vorticity budget analysis for CSV(HRF). The positive 925-hPa vorticity tendency is located west of (coincident with) the 925-hPa vorticity center for the PHS-type (SCS type) of cold surge. Third, the CSV(HRF) development into a HRF event is achieved through multiple interactions of former vortices with sequential cold surges across the South China Sea. The first two CSV(HRF) development processes are reported herein; the last process is presented in Part II.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00170.s1.

Corresponding author address: Tsing-Chang (Mike) Chen, Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, 3010 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: tmchen@iastate.edu

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