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Atsushi Hamada and Yukari N. Takayabu

Abstract

The precipitation characteristics of extreme events in August determined from 13 years of satellite data around Japan in the TRMM observation region and their relationship with large-scale environmental conditions are examined. Two types of extreme events, extreme rainfall and extreme convective events, are defined in each analysis grid box using maximum near-surface rainfall and maximum 40-dBZ echo-top height in each event, respectively. There are clear differences in precipitation characteristics between the two types of extreme events. Extreme rainfall events are more organized precipitation systems than the extreme convective events, with relatively lower echo-top heights and very low lightning activity. There are also clear differences in the related environmental conditions, where the environments related to the extreme rainfall events are somewhat convectively stable and very humid in almost the entire troposphere. These facts are consistent with our previous studies and reinforce the importance of warm-rain processes in extremely intense precipitation productions. The environments related to the extreme rainfall events exhibit a zonally extended moist anomaly in the free troposphere from southern China to the east of Japan, indicating that the excessive moisture transported from the west by a large-scale flow may partially play a role in producing environmental conditions favorable for extreme rainfall. On the other hand, the environments related to extreme convective events are not associated with free-tropospheric moisture inflow. The relationships with the tropical cyclones and upper-tropospheric dynamical fields are also examined, and are found to be clearly different between the extreme rainfall events and extreme convective events.

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Atsushi Hamada, Yuki Murayama, and Yukari N. Takayabu

Abstract

Characteristics and global distribution of regional extreme rainfall are presented using 12 yr of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) measurements. By considering each rainfall event as a set of contiguous PR rainy pixels, characteristic values for each event are obtained. Regional extreme rainfall events are defined as those in which maximum near-surface rainfall rates are higher than the corresponding 99.9th percentile on a 2.5° × 2.5° horizontal-resolution grid.

The geographical distribution of extreme rainfall rates shows clear regional differences. The size and volumetric rainfall of extreme events also show clear regional differences. Extreme rainfall rates show good correlations with the corresponding rain-top heights and event sizes over oceans but marginal or no correlation over land. The time of maximum occurrence of extreme rainfall events tends to be during 0000–1200 LT over oceans, whereas it has a distinct afternoon peak over land. There are also clear seasonal differences in which the occurrence over land is largely coincident with insolation.

Regional extreme rainfall is classified by extreme rainfall rate (intensity) and the corresponding event size (extensity). Regions of “intense and extensive” extreme rainfall are found mainly over oceans near coastal areas and are likely associated with tropical cyclones and convective systems associated with the establishment of monsoons. Regions of “intense but less extensive” extreme rainfall are distributed widely over land and maritime continents, probably related to afternoon showers and mesoscale convective systems. Regions of “extensive but less intense” extreme rainfall are found almost exclusively over oceans, likely associated with well-organized mesoscale convective systems and extratropical cyclones.

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Chie Yokoyama, Yukari N. Takayabu, and Sachie Kanada

Abstract

Contrasts in precipitation characteristics across the baiu front are examined with Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) data near Japan during June–July (1998–2011). The vertical structure of atmospheric stratification differs between the tropics and midlatitudes. On an average, the baiu front is found around the latitude that roughly divides the midlatitude atmosphere from the tropical atmosphere. Precipitation characteristics are compared between the southern and northern sides of the reference latitude of the baiu front, which is detected with equivalent potential temperature at 1000 hPa of 345 K in terms of the boundary between the tropics and midlatitudes.

The results show that there are obvious differences in precipitation characteristics between the southern and northern sides. In the south, convective rainfall ratios (CRRs) are 40%–60%, which are larger than those in the north (20%–40%). Greater rainfall intensity and taller/deeper precipitation are also observed in the south. Moreover, the characteristics of precipitation features (PFs), which are contiguous areas of nonzero rainfall, differ between the southern and northern sides. In the north, wide stratiform precipitation systems with CRRs of 0%–40% and heights of 8–11 km are dominant. In the south, organized precipitation systems with heights of 12–14 km and CRRs of 30%–50% and those with very large heights (14–17 km) and CRRs of 50%–80% are dominant in addition to wide stratiform precipitation systems. These results suggest that the mechanisms to bring rainfall are different between the southern and northern regions of the baiu front.

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Nagio Hirota, Yukari N. Takayabu, and Atsushi Hamada

Abstract

Reproducibility of summer precipitation over northern Eurasia in climate models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) is evaluated in comparison with several observational and reanalysis datasets. All CMIP5 models under- and overestimate precipitation over western and eastern Eurasia, respectively, and the reproducibility measured using the Taylor skill score is largely determined by the severity of these west–east precipitation biases. The following are the two possible causes for the precipitation biases: very little cloud cover and very strong local evaporation–precipitation coupling. The models underestimate cloud cover over Eurasia, allowing too much sunshine and leading to a warm bias at the surface. The associated cyclonic circulation biases in the lower troposphere weaken the modeled moisture transport from the Atlantic to western Eurasia and enhance the northward moisture flux along the eastern coast. Once the dry west and wet east biases appear in the models, they become amplified because of stronger evaporation–precipitation coupling. The CMIP5 models reproduce precipitation events well over a time scale of several days, including the associated low pressure systems and local convection. However, the modeled precipitation events are relatively weaker over western Eurasia and stronger over eastern Eurasia compared to the observations, and these are consistent with the biases found in the seasonal average fields.

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Chie Yokoyama, Yukari N. Takayabu, and Takeshi Horinouchi

Abstract

A quasi-stationary front, called the baiu front, often appears during the early-summer rainy season in East Asia (baiu in Japan). The present study examines how precipitation characteristics during the baiu season are determined by the large-scale environment, using satellite observation three-dimensional precipitation data. Emphasis is placed on the effect of subtropical jet (STJ) and lower-tropospheric convective instability (LCI).

A rainband appears together with a deep moisture convergence to the south of the STJ. Two types of mesoscale rainfall events (REs; contiguous rainfall areas), which are grouped by the stratiform precipitation ratio (SPR; stratiform precipitation over total precipitation), are identified: moderately stratiform REs (SPR of 0%–80%) representing tropical organized precipitation systems and highly stratiform REs (SPR of 80%–100%) representing midlatitude precipitation systems associated with extratropical cyclones. As the STJ becomes strong, rainfall from both types of mesoscale precipitation systems increases, with a distinct eastward extension of a midtropospheric moist region. In contrast, small systems appear regardless of the STJ, with high dependency on the LCI.

The results indicate that the STJ plays a role in moistening the midtroposphere owing to ascent associated with secondary circulation to the south of the STJ, producing environments favorable for organized precipitation systems in the southern part of the rainband. The horizontal moisture flux convergence may also contribute to precipitation just along the STJ. On the other hand, the LCI plays a role in generating shallow convection. In high-LCI conditions, deep convection can occur without the aid of mesoscale organization.

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Guanghua Chen, Yukari N. Takayabu, and Chie Yokoyama

Abstract

Using 10-yr high-resolution satellite and reanalysis data, the synoptic-scale dual structure of precipitable water (PW), in which the southern and northern bands straddled at the ITCZ produce zonally propagating meridional dipoles, is observed over the eastern Pacific (EP) during boreal summer and fall. Composites indicate that the PW dipole, concurrent with the dipole-like filtered divergence, has a shift to the west of the anomalously cyclonic circulation. The vertical structure of filtered meridional wind is characterized by a wavenumber-1 baroclinic mode, and the vertical motion has two peaks situated at 850 and 300 hPa, respectively. To the east of the PW dipole, the shallow convection is embedded within the deep convection, forming a multilevel structure of meridional wind on the ITCZ equatorward side. To the west of the PW dipole, the deep convection tends to be suppressed because of the invasion of midlevel dry air advected by northerly flows. The generation and propagation of the dual PW band can be attributed to the divergence and advection terms related to specific humidity and three-dimensional wind. By comparison, the PW anomalies over the western North Pacific, only exhibiting a single band, coincide with the centers of synoptic disturbances with a barotropic vertical structure. Because of the weakening of lower-level divergence, the vertical motion, and the horizontal gradient of PW, the synoptic-scale PW signal is reduced significantly. The typical cases and statistics confirm that the strong meridional dipoles and westward-propagating disturbances are closely associated with the distortion and breakdown of ITCZ over the EP.

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Yukari N. Takayabu, George N. Kiladis, and Victor Magaña

Abstract

Insights by Professor Michio Yanai on tropical waves, which have been vital ingredients for progress in tropical meteorology over the last half-century, are recollected. This study revisits various aspects of research on tropical waves over the last five decades to examine, in Yanai’s words, “the nature of ‘A-scale’ tropical wave disturbances and the interaction of the waves and the ‘B-scale’ phenomena (cloud clusters),” the fundamental problem posed by Yanai at the design phase of the GARP Atlantic Tropical Experiment (GATE) in 1971. The various contributions of Michio Yanai to the current understanding of the dynamics of the tropical atmosphere are briefly reviewed to show how his work has led to several current theories in this field.

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Takeshi Horinouchi, Shinji Matsumura, Tomoaki Ose, and Yukari N. Takayabu

Abstract

Through extensive modeling efforts, it has been established that the ongoing global warming will increase the overall precipitation associated with the East Asian summer monsoon, but the future change of its spatial distribution has not reached a consensus. In this study, meridional shifts of the mei-yu–baiu rainband are studied in association with the subtropical jet by using outputs from atmosphere–ocean coupled climate models provided by CMIP5. The models reproduce observed associations between the jet and precipitation over wide time scales from synoptic to interannual. The same relation is found in intermodel differences in simulated climatology, so that the meridional locations of the jet and baiu precipitation are positively correlated. The multimodel-mean projection suggests that the both are shifted southward by the late twenty-first century. This shift is not inconsistent with the projected tropical expansion, not only because the change is local but also because the projected tropical expansion occurs mainly in the Southern Hemisphere. No significant future change in the continental mei-yu precipitation location is identified, which might be because the jet change is weak there. For comparison, the summertime Atlantic jet position, which shifts northward, is investigated briefly. This study suggests that the future change of the subtropical jet is an important aspect to investigate possible future changes of the baiu rainband, and it prompts further studies including the role of the ocean.

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Shoichi Shige, Yukari N. Takayabu, and Wei-Kuo Tao

Abstract

The spectral latent heating (SLH) algorithm was developed to estimate apparent heat source (Q 1) profiles for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar (PR) in Parts I and II of this study. In this paper, the SLH algorithm is used to estimate apparent moisture sink (Q 2) profiles. The procedure of Q 2 retrieval is the same as that of heating retrieval except for using the Q 2 profile lookup tables derived from numerical simulations of tropical cloud systems from the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere (TOGA) Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) utilizing a cloud-resolving model (CRM). The Q 2 profiles were reconstructed from CRM-simulated parameters with the COARE table and then compared with CRM-simulated “true” Q 2 profiles, which were computed directly from the water vapor equation in the model. The consistency check indicates that discrepancies between the SLH-reconstructed and CRM-simulated profiles for Q 2, especially at low levels, are larger than those for Q 1 and are attributable to moistening for the nonprecipitating region that SLH cannot reconstruct. Nevertheless, the SLH-reconstructed total Q 2 profiles are in good agreement with the CRM-simulated ones. The SLH algorithm was applied to PR data, and the results were compared with Q 2 profiles derived from the budget study. Although discrepancies between the SLH-retrieved and sounding-based profiles for Q 2 for the South China Sea Monsoon Experiment (SCSMEX) are larger than those for heating, key features of the vertical profiles agree well. The SLH algorithm can also estimate differences of Q 2 between the western Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, consistent with the results from the budget study.

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Nagio Hirota, Yukari N. Takayabu, Masahiro Watanabe, and Masahide Kimoto

Abstract

Precipitation reproducibility over the tropical oceans in climate models is examined. Models participating in phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) and the current (fifth) version Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate (MIROC5) developed by the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, National Institute for Environmental Studies, and Research Institute for Global Change (AORI/NIES/RIGC) are analyzed. Scores of a pattern similarity between precipitation in the models and that in observations are evaluated. The low score models (LSMs) overestimate (underestimate) precipitation over large-scale subsidence (ascending) regions compared to the high score models (HSMs). The sensitivity of deep convection to sea surface temperature (SST) and large-scale subsidence is examined; analysis suggests that dynamical suppression of deep convection by the entrainment of environmental dry air over the subsidence region is very weak, and deep convection follows SST closely in LSMs. For example, deep convective activity is identified over the southeastern Pacific in LSMs, which corresponds to the double intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) problem. It is suggested that the double ITCZ is associated not only with the local SST but also with the precipitation schemes that control deep convection over the entire tropical oceans. The current version, MIROC5, reproduces precipitation distributions significantly better than the older versions. Precipitation in MIROC5 has a weaker correlation with SST and a stronger correlation with environmental humidity than that in LSMs. The realistic representation of entrainment in regions with dynamical suppression is suggested to be a key factor for better reproducibility of precipitation distributions.

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