The Taiwan Area Mesoscale Experiment (TAMEX) is a research program conducted jointly by scientists of Taiwan, the Republic of China, and the United States to improve, through better understanding, the forecasting of heavy precipitation events that lead to flash floods. In order to achieve this objective the field phase of TAMEX was launched to collect the data necessary to study

  • the mesoscale circulation associated with the Mei-Yu front;

  • the evolution of the mesoscale convective systems in the vicinity of the Mei-Yu front; and

  • the effects of orography on the Mei-Yu front and on mesoscale convective systems.

The field phase extended from 1 May to 29 June 1987, covering 13 operational missions. In addition, soundings were taken every 6 h within the special network for a 1-month period from 15 May to 15 June. Meteorological phenomena on which special observations were collected include the Mei-Yu front, low-level jet, prefrontal squall lines, open-ocean mesoscale convective systems, mountain convection, terrain-induced mesolows, frontal deformation due to orography, nocturnal convergence lines, and land-sea breeze. In a few cases, heavy precipitation (6-h rainfall exceeding 150 mm) was recorded within the observing network. The field program of TAMEX was an operational success, and an excellent dataset was collected to study the diurnal cycle and other mesoscale circulations over and around Taiwan during undisturbed, as well as disturbed periods.

In this paper we review the scientific objectives of TAMEX, describe the experiment area and special observing systems of the field operations, and present highlights of preliminary scientific results. We also discuss the management and archiving of TAMEX datasets, which are open to all interested scientists.

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* National Center for Atmospheric Research (sponsored by the National Science Foundation), P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307.

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.