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A Forecast Advisory for Afternoon Thunderstorm Occurrence in the Taipei Basin during Summer Developed from Diagnostic Analysis

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  • 1 Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
  • | 2 Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, and Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
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Abstract

Summer is a dry season in northern Taiwan. By contrast, the Taipei basin, located in this region, has its maximum rainfall during summer (15 June–31 August), when 78% of this rainfall is contributed by afternoon thunderstorms. This thunderstorm activity occurs during only 20 days in summer. Because of the pronounced impacts on the well-being of three million people in the basin and the relative infrequency of occurrence, forecasting thunderstorm events is an important operational issue in the Taipei basin. The basin’s small size (30 km × 60 km), with two river exits and limited thunderstorm occurrence days, makes the development of a thunderstorm activity forecast model for this basin a great challenge. Synoptic analysis reveals a thunderstorm day may develop from morning synoptic conditions free of clouds/rain, with a NW–SE-oriented dipole located south of Taiwan and southwesterlies straddling the low and high of this dipole. The surface meteorological conditions along the two river valleys exhibit distinct diurnal variations of pressure, temperature, dewpoint depression, relative humidity, and land–sea breezes. The primary features of the synoptic conditions and timings of the diurnal cycles for the four surface variables are utilized to develop a two-step hybrid forecast advisory for thunderstorm occurrence. Step 1 validates the 24-h forecasts for the 0000 UTC (0800 LST) synoptic conditions and timings for diurnal variations for the first five surface variables on thunderstorm days. Step 2 validates the same synoptic and surface meteorological conditions (including sea-breeze onset time) observed on the thunderstorm day. The feasibility of the proposed forecast advisory is successfully demonstrated by these validations.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-15-0082.s1.

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

Abstract

Summer is a dry season in northern Taiwan. By contrast, the Taipei basin, located in this region, has its maximum rainfall during summer (15 June–31 August), when 78% of this rainfall is contributed by afternoon thunderstorms. This thunderstorm activity occurs during only 20 days in summer. Because of the pronounced impacts on the well-being of three million people in the basin and the relative infrequency of occurrence, forecasting thunderstorm events is an important operational issue in the Taipei basin. The basin’s small size (30 km × 60 km), with two river exits and limited thunderstorm occurrence days, makes the development of a thunderstorm activity forecast model for this basin a great challenge. Synoptic analysis reveals a thunderstorm day may develop from morning synoptic conditions free of clouds/rain, with a NW–SE-oriented dipole located south of Taiwan and southwesterlies straddling the low and high of this dipole. The surface meteorological conditions along the two river valleys exhibit distinct diurnal variations of pressure, temperature, dewpoint depression, relative humidity, and land–sea breezes. The primary features of the synoptic conditions and timings of the diurnal cycles for the four surface variables are utilized to develop a two-step hybrid forecast advisory for thunderstorm occurrence. Step 1 validates the 24-h forecasts for the 0000 UTC (0800 LST) synoptic conditions and timings for diurnal variations for the first five surface variables on thunderstorm days. Step 2 validates the same synoptic and surface meteorological conditions (including sea-breeze onset time) observed on the thunderstorm day. The feasibility of the proposed forecast advisory is successfully demonstrated by these validations.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-15-0082.s1.

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

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