Abstract

This study investigated heavy frontal rainfall that occurred on 13–14 October 2011 over the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in China. The frontal rainstorm was simulated using the WRF-ARW Model (version 3.3), which included its urban canopy model. Although the model-simulated convection occurred 2 h early and the second precipitation peak was underestimated, the model represented the formation, development, and extinction of the frontal rainfall and captured the distribution of the peak value. In addition, the averaged value of 49.7 W m−2 was taken as the anthropogenic heat flux (AHF) of the PRD, and two land-use datasets were adopted: one for 1992 and the other for 2011. The simulation revealed that AHF and urban land-use change (ULUC) increased the total rainfall over the PRD by 6.3% and 7.4% and increased the maximum hourly rainfall intensity by 24.6% and 21.2%, respectively. Furthermore, to elucidate the mechanism of AHF and ULUC influence, the rainstorm structure, low-level jet (LLJ), and CAPE of the rainfall event were analyzed. It was found that AHF and ULUC enhanced two strong southward LLJs located over the urban areas, which carried abundant water vapor to the PRD and generated additional upper-level CAPE. This not only sustained steady ascent of the air, but it also created conditions favorable for downward motion, resulting in large persistent convective clouds and heavy frontal rainfall.

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