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Analysis of a Heavy Rainfall Event during TAMEX

Jun LiDepartment of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Yi-Leng ChenDepartment of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Wen-Chau LeeNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

A heavy rainfall event during the Taiwan Area Mesoscale Experiment intensive observing period 13 has been studied using upper-air, surface mesonet, and dual-Doppler radar data. The heavy rainfall (≥231 mm day−1) occurred over northwestern Taiwan with the maximum rainfall along the northwestern coast and was caused by a long-lived, convective rainband in the prefrontal atmosphere. It occurred in an upper-level divergence region and along the axis of the maximum equivalent potential temperature at the 850-hPa level.

As a Mei-Yu front advanced southeastward, the postfrontal cold air in the lowest levels was retarded by the hilly terrain along the southeastern China coast. As a result, a low-level wind-shift line associated with a pressure trough at the 850-hPa level moved over the Taiwan Strait before the arrival of the surface front. The westerly flow behind the trough interacted with a barrier jet along the northwestern coast of Taiwan. The barrier jet is caused by the interaction between the prefrontal southwest monsoon flow and the island obstacle. A low-level convergence zone (∼3 km deep) was observed along the wind-shift line between the westerly flow coming off the southeastern China coast and the barrier jet. A long-lived rainband developed within the low-level convergence zone and moved southeastward toward the northwestern Taiwan coast with the wind-shift line.

There were several long-lived (>2 h) reflectivity maxima embedded in the rainband. They often had several individual cells with a much shorter lifetime. The reflectivity maxima formed on the southwestern tip of the rainband and along the low-level wind-shift line. They intensified during their movement from the southwest to the northeast along the rainband. The continuous generation of the reflectivity maxima along the wind-shift line and the intensification of them over the low-level convergence zone maintained the long lifetime of the rainband and produced persistent heavy rainfall along the northwestern coast as these reflectivity maxima moved toward the coast. During the early stage of their lifetime, the reflectivity maxima were observed along the wind-shift line with upward motion in the lower troposphere. As they moved toward the northeastern part of the rainband and matured, the reflectivity maxima were observed southeast of the convergence zone with sinking motion in the lower troposphere. The upward motion was rooted along the wind-shift line and tilted southeastward with height. The reflectivity maxima dissipated as they moved inland. During the early stage of the rainband, the reflectivity maxima on the northeastern part of the rainband also merged with the convective line associated with the land-breeze front offshore of the northwestern coast.

The Mei-Yu front was shallow (<1 km) and moved slowly southward along the western coast. Convection associated with the front was weak with echo tops (∼10 dBZ) below 6 km.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yi-Leng Chen, Department of Meteorology, SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822.

Email: dave@soest.hawaii.edu

Abstract

A heavy rainfall event during the Taiwan Area Mesoscale Experiment intensive observing period 13 has been studied using upper-air, surface mesonet, and dual-Doppler radar data. The heavy rainfall (≥231 mm day−1) occurred over northwestern Taiwan with the maximum rainfall along the northwestern coast and was caused by a long-lived, convective rainband in the prefrontal atmosphere. It occurred in an upper-level divergence region and along the axis of the maximum equivalent potential temperature at the 850-hPa level.

As a Mei-Yu front advanced southeastward, the postfrontal cold air in the lowest levels was retarded by the hilly terrain along the southeastern China coast. As a result, a low-level wind-shift line associated with a pressure trough at the 850-hPa level moved over the Taiwan Strait before the arrival of the surface front. The westerly flow behind the trough interacted with a barrier jet along the northwestern coast of Taiwan. The barrier jet is caused by the interaction between the prefrontal southwest monsoon flow and the island obstacle. A low-level convergence zone (∼3 km deep) was observed along the wind-shift line between the westerly flow coming off the southeastern China coast and the barrier jet. A long-lived rainband developed within the low-level convergence zone and moved southeastward toward the northwestern Taiwan coast with the wind-shift line.

There were several long-lived (>2 h) reflectivity maxima embedded in the rainband. They often had several individual cells with a much shorter lifetime. The reflectivity maxima formed on the southwestern tip of the rainband and along the low-level wind-shift line. They intensified during their movement from the southwest to the northeast along the rainband. The continuous generation of the reflectivity maxima along the wind-shift line and the intensification of them over the low-level convergence zone maintained the long lifetime of the rainband and produced persistent heavy rainfall along the northwestern coast as these reflectivity maxima moved toward the coast. During the early stage of their lifetime, the reflectivity maxima were observed along the wind-shift line with upward motion in the lower troposphere. As they moved toward the northeastern part of the rainband and matured, the reflectivity maxima were observed southeast of the convergence zone with sinking motion in the lower troposphere. The upward motion was rooted along the wind-shift line and tilted southeastward with height. The reflectivity maxima dissipated as they moved inland. During the early stage of the rainband, the reflectivity maxima on the northeastern part of the rainband also merged with the convective line associated with the land-breeze front offshore of the northwestern coast.

The Mei-Yu front was shallow (<1 km) and moved slowly southward along the western coast. Convection associated with the front was weak with echo tops (∼10 dBZ) below 6 km.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yi-Leng Chen, Department of Meteorology, SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822.

Email: dave@soest.hawaii.edu

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