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


Three-dimensional distributions of the apparent heat source (Q 1) − radiative heating (QR) estimated from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) utilizing the spectral latent heating (SLH) algorithm are analyzed. Mass-weighted and vertically integrated Q 1QR averaged over the tropical oceans is estimated as ∼72.6 J s−1 (∼2.51 mm day−1) and that over tropical land is ∼73.7 J s−1 (∼2.55 mm day−1) for 30°N–30°S. It is shown that nondrizzle precipitation over tropical and subtropical oceans consists of two dominant modes of rainfall systems: deep systems and congestus. A rough estimate of the shallow-heating contribution against the total heating is about 46.7% for the average tropical oceans, which is substantially larger than the 23.7% over tropical land.

Although cumulus congestus heating linearly correlates with SST, deep-mode heating is dynamically bounded by large-scale subsidence. It is notable that a substantial amount of rain, as large as 2.38 mm day−1 on average, is brought from congestus clouds under the large-scale subsiding circulation. It is also notable that, even in the region with SSTs warmer than 28°C, large-scale subsidence effectively suppresses the deep convection, with the remaining heating by congestus clouds.

The results support that the entrainment of mid–lower-tropospheric dry air, which accompanies the large-scale subsidence, is the major factor suppressing the deep convection. Therefore, a representation of the realistic entrainment is very important for proper reproduction of precipitation distribution and the resultant large-scale circulation.

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