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Yasu-Masa Kodama
Masaki Katsumata
Shuichi Mori
Sinsuke Satoh
Yuki Hirose
, and
Hiroaki Ueda


The large-scale distribution of precipitation and latent heating (LH) profiles in the tropics, subtropics, and part of the midlatitudes was studied using a 9-yr dataset derived from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission precipitation radar observations, with emphasis on the contribution of warm rain. The distribution of warm rain showed features unique from those of rain in other categories and those of outgoing longwave radiation. Warm rain was weak over land but widely distributed over oceans, especially along the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and the western part of the subtropical oceans. The observed amount of warm rain depended on the rainfall intensity rather than on the frequency of warm rain events. The amount of warm rain over ocean was positively correlated with sea surface temperature (SST); this dependency was found in the tropics, subtropics, and part of the midlatitudes, whereas dependency of SST on total rain was confined to the tropics. Both total rain and warm rain were concentrated in the ITCZ, which elongated along the local SST maximum. Small amounts of warm rain were found along subtropical convergence zones (the baiu frontal zone and subtropical portions of the South Pacific convergence zone and the South Atlantic convergence zone) with ample total rainfall. However, larger amounts of warm rain were observed at the lower-latitude sides of these zones in the upstream portions of low-level moisture flow toward the zones. Warm rain may cultivate the subtropical convergence zones by deepening the moist boundary layer and increasing moisture flux toward the zones. The statistical relationship between warm rain and low-level cloudiness showed that the warm rain amount was large when low-level cloudiness was 20%–30% and small when low-level cloudiness was greater than 40%. This indicates that intense warm rain is provided by convective clouds, not by stratiform clouds, in conditions of substantial cloudiness. Despite the small contribution to total rain, warm rain maintained positive LH values over most of the tropical and subtropical oceans. The LH by warm rain masked low-level cooling observed in stratiform rain and maintained positive LH in the lower atmosphere below the melting layer. Because warm rain was confined to oceans, a strong LH contrast was maintained along the coast; this contrast reached values of 1–2 K day−1 in certain places and may affect local and monsoonal circulation across continental coasts.

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