Impacts of Mountain–Plains Solenoid on Diurnal Variations of Rainfalls along the Mei-Yu Front over the East China Plains

Jianhua Sun Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, and Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

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Fuqing Zhang Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

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Abstract

Convection-permitting numerical experiments using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model are performed to examine the impact of a thermally driven mountain–plains solenoid (MPS) on the diurnal variations of precipitation and mesoscale convective vortices along the mei-yu front over the east China plains during 1–10 July 2007. The focus of the analyses is a 10-day simulation that used the 10-day average of the global analysis at 0000 UTC as the initial condition and the 10-day averages every 6 h as lateral boundary conditions (with diurnal variations only). Despite differences in the rainfall intensity and location, this idealized experiment successfully simulated the observed diurnal variation and eastward propagation of rainfall and mesoscale convective vortices along the mei-yu front. It was found that the upward branch of the MPS, along with the attendant nocturnal low-level jet, is primarily responsible for the midnight-to-early-morning rainfall enhancement along the mei-yu front. The MPS is induced by differential heating between the high mountain ranges in central China and the low-lying plains in east China. Diabatic heating from moist convection initiated and/or enhanced by the solenoid circulation subsequently leads to the formation of a mesoscale convective vortex that further organizes and amplifies moist convection while propagating eastward along the mei-yu front. The downward branch of the MPS, on the other hand, leads to the suppression of precipitation over the plains during the daytime. The impacts of this regional MPS on the rainfall diurnal variations are further attested to by another idealized WRF simulation that uses fixed lateral boundary conditions.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Fuqing Zhang, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail: fzhang@psu.edu

Abstract

Convection-permitting numerical experiments using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model are performed to examine the impact of a thermally driven mountain–plains solenoid (MPS) on the diurnal variations of precipitation and mesoscale convective vortices along the mei-yu front over the east China plains during 1–10 July 2007. The focus of the analyses is a 10-day simulation that used the 10-day average of the global analysis at 0000 UTC as the initial condition and the 10-day averages every 6 h as lateral boundary conditions (with diurnal variations only). Despite differences in the rainfall intensity and location, this idealized experiment successfully simulated the observed diurnal variation and eastward propagation of rainfall and mesoscale convective vortices along the mei-yu front. It was found that the upward branch of the MPS, along with the attendant nocturnal low-level jet, is primarily responsible for the midnight-to-early-morning rainfall enhancement along the mei-yu front. The MPS is induced by differential heating between the high mountain ranges in central China and the low-lying plains in east China. Diabatic heating from moist convection initiated and/or enhanced by the solenoid circulation subsequently leads to the formation of a mesoscale convective vortex that further organizes and amplifies moist convection while propagating eastward along the mei-yu front. The downward branch of the MPS, on the other hand, leads to the suppression of precipitation over the plains during the daytime. The impacts of this regional MPS on the rainfall diurnal variations are further attested to by another idealized WRF simulation that uses fixed lateral boundary conditions.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Fuqing Zhang, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail: fzhang@psu.edu
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