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Small-Scale Cloud Activity over the Maritime Continent and the Western Pacific as Revealed by Satellite Data

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  • 1 Rikkyo Niiza Junior and Senior High School, Niiza, Japan
  • | 2 Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
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Abstract

Cloud systems over the Maritime Continent and the tropical western Pacific defined by the Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS) were tracked, and their evolution was compared with cloud parameters [e.g., minimum blackbody brightness temperature (TBB), cloud area size, TBB gradient at cloud edges]. In addition, cloud systems observed by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) were examined, and the relationship with precipitation was investigated. Analysis areas were divided into four regions: open ocean, coastal sea, coasts, and land.

Cloud systems that did not split from or merge with other systems (28% of a total of 290 717 cloud systems) showed common features on cloud parameters in spite of different lifetimes or their locations. While the minimum TBB appeared in the beginning of their lifetimes, the cloud area was still expanding. At the time of first detection, the TBB gradient at the edge of the cloud system was the maximum and decreased with time. The rain rate was maximized when the TBB was at a minimum or earlier. For example, a system with the lifetime of 5 h over the ocean has a minimum TBB 2 h after the occurrence, a maximum area at 3 h, a maximum TBB gradient at 1 h, and a maximum rain rate at 1 h. Vertical development was significant in coasts, while remarkable horizontal expansion appeared over land. In particular, precipitation ice and storm height profiles showed differences among regions.

Corresponding author address: Kenji Nakamura, Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Furocho Chikusaku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan. Email: nakamura@hyarc.nagoya-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Cloud systems over the Maritime Continent and the tropical western Pacific defined by the Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS) were tracked, and their evolution was compared with cloud parameters [e.g., minimum blackbody brightness temperature (TBB), cloud area size, TBB gradient at cloud edges]. In addition, cloud systems observed by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) were examined, and the relationship with precipitation was investigated. Analysis areas were divided into four regions: open ocean, coastal sea, coasts, and land.

Cloud systems that did not split from or merge with other systems (28% of a total of 290 717 cloud systems) showed common features on cloud parameters in spite of different lifetimes or their locations. While the minimum TBB appeared in the beginning of their lifetimes, the cloud area was still expanding. At the time of first detection, the TBB gradient at the edge of the cloud system was the maximum and decreased with time. The rain rate was maximized when the TBB was at a minimum or earlier. For example, a system with the lifetime of 5 h over the ocean has a minimum TBB 2 h after the occurrence, a maximum area at 3 h, a maximum TBB gradient at 1 h, and a maximum rain rate at 1 h. Vertical development was significant in coasts, while remarkable horizontal expansion appeared over land. In particular, precipitation ice and storm height profiles showed differences among regions.

Corresponding author address: Kenji Nakamura, Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Furocho Chikusaku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan. Email: nakamura@hyarc.nagoya-u.ac.jp

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