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Atsushi Hamada and Noriyuki Nishi

Abstract

Lookup tables for estimating the cloud-top height and visible optical thickness of upper-tropospheric clouds by the infrared brightness temperature TB at 10.8 μm (T 11) and its difference from TB at 12 μm (ΔT 11–12) measured by a geostationary satellite are presented. These lookup tables were constructed by regressing the cloud radar measurements by the CloudSat satellite over the infrared measurements by the Japanese geostationary multifunctional transport satellite MTSAT-1R. Standard deviations of measurements around the estimates were also displayed as an indicator of the ambiguity in the estimates. For the upper-tropospheric clouds with T 11 < 240 K, the standard deviations of the height estimations were less than 1 km. The dependences of the estimates of cloud-top height at each point in T 11−ΔT 11–12 space on latitude, season, satellite zenith angle, day–night, and land–sea differences were examined. It was shown that these dependences were considered uniform in the tropics except for the region with large satellite zenith angle. The presented lookup tables can provide hourly estimates of cloud-top height and optical thickness at a specified location and are fairly useful in comparing them with ground-based observations such as vertical profiles of humidity and/or wind.

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Atsushi Hamada and Yukari N. Takayabu

Abstract

This study reports on the presence of suspicious “extreme rainfall” data in the 2A25 version-7 (V7) product of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar (PR) dataset and introduces a simple method for detecting and filtering out the suspicious data. These suspicious data in V7 are found by comparing the extreme rainfall characteristics in the V7 and version-6 products. Most of the suspicious extremes are located over land, especially in mountainous regions. Radar reflectivities in the suspicious extremes show significant monotonic increases toward the echo bottom. These facts indicate that the suspicious extremes are mainly caused by contamination from ground or sea clutter. A simple thresholding filter for eliminating the suspicious extreme data is developed using common characteristics in the horizontal and vertical rainfall structures and reflectivities in the suspicious extremes. The proposed filter mitigates deformations in the frequency distribution of the surface rainfall rate in the 2A25 V7 product.

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Atsushi Hamada and Yukari N. Takayabu

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the impact of the enhancement in detectability by the dual-frequency precipitation radar (DPR) on board the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core observatory. By setting two minimum detectable reflectivities—12 and 18 dBZ—artificially to 6 months of GPM DPR measurements, the precipitation occurrence and volume increase by ~21.1% and ~1.9%, respectively, between 40°S and 40°N.

GPM DPR is found to be able to detect light precipitation, which mainly consists of two distinct types. One type is shallow precipitation, which is most significant for convective precipitation over eastern parts of subtropical oceans, where deep convection is typically suppressed. The other type is probably associated with lower parts of anvil clouds associated with organized precipitation systems.

While these echoes have lower reflectivities than the official value of the minimum detectable reflectivity, they are found to mostly consist of true precipitation signals, suggesting that the official value may be too conservative for some sort of meteorological analyses. These results are expected to further the understanding of both global energy and water budgets and the diabatic heating distribution.

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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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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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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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Noriyuki Nishi, Masayuki K. Yamamoto, Toyoshi Shimomai, Atsushi Hamada, and Shoichiro Fukao

Abstract

Vertical motion W profiles in the stratiform precipitation region of mesoscale cloud clusters were investigated using wind data observed by VHF Doppler radar installed in western Sumatra Island (0.2°S, 100.32°E). A special mode for W observations was introduced in November 2003, and W data with high accuracy were obtained during most of the period, with fine resolutions of 3 min in time and 150 m in vertical direction. The typical fine structure of W within the nimbostratus in the stratiform precipitation region was investigated by the case study of 6, 8, and 20 November 2003. In the later 2 or 3 h of the stratiform precipitation period, gentle upward motions with small time and height fluctuations were observed over a several-kilometer height range from the middle to upper troposphere. Values of W were weakly positive (0–40 cm s−1) continuously, with little strong upward motion greater than 40 cm s−1 and downward motion.

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Akiyo Yatagai, Kenji Kamiguchi, Osamu Arakawa, Atsushi Hamada, Natsuko Yasutomi, and Akio Kitoh

A daily gridded precipitation dataset covering a period of more than 57 yr was created by collecting and analyzing rain gauge observation data across Asia through the activities of the Asian Precipitation—Highly Resolved Observational Data Integration Towards Evaluation of Water Resources (APHRODITE) project. APHRODITE's daily gridded precipitation is presently the only long-term, continental-scale, high-resolution daily product. The product is based on data collected at 5,000–12,000 stations, which represent 2.3–4.5 times the data made available through the Global Telecommunication System network and is used for most daily gridded precipitation products. Hence, the APHRODITE project has substantially improved the depiction of the areal distribution and variability of precipitation around the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, and mountainous regions of the Middle East. The APHRODITE project now contributes to studies such as the determination of Asian monsoon precipitation change, evaluation of water resources, verification of high-resolution model simulations and satellite precipitation estimates, and improvement of precipitation forecasts. The APHRODITE project carries out outreach activities with Asian countries, and communicates with national institutions and world data centers. We have released open-access APHRO_V1101 datasets for monsoon Asia, the Middle East, and northern Eurasia (at 0.5° × 0.5° and 0.25° × 0.25° resolution) and the APHRO_JP_V1005 dataset for Japan (at 0.05° × 0.05° resolution; see www.chikyu.ac.jp/precip/ and http://aphrodite.suiri.tsukuba.ac.jp/). We welcome cooperation and feedback from users.

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Masafumi Hirose, Yukari N. Takayabu, Atsushi Hamada, Shoichi Shige, and Munehisa K. Yamamoto

Abstract

Observations of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Precipitation Radar (TRMM PR) over 16 yr yielded hundreds of large precipitation systems (≥100 km) for each 0.1° grid over major rainy regions. More than 90% of the rainfall was attributed to large systems over certain midlatitude regions such as La Plata basin and the East China Sea. The accumulation of high-impact snapshots reduced the significant spatial fluctuation of the rain fraction arising from large systems and allowed the obtaining of sharp images of the geographic rainfall pattern. Widespread systems were undetected over low-rainfall areas such as regions off Peru. Conversely, infrequent large systems brought a significant percentage of rainfall over semiarid tropics such as the Sahel. This demonstrated an increased need for regional sampling of extreme phenomena. Differences in data collected over a period of 16 yr were used to examine sampling adequacy. The results indicated that more than 10% of the 0.1°-scale sampling error accounted for half of the TRMM domain even for a 10-yr data accumulation period. Rainfall at the 0.1° scale was negatively biased in the first few years for over more than half of the areas because of a lack of high-impact samples. The areal fraction of the 0.1°-scale climatology with a 50% accuracy exceeded 95% in the ninth year and in the fifth year for those areas with rainfall >2 mm day−1. A monotonic increase in the degree of similarity of finescale rainfall to the best estimate with an accuracy of 10% illustrated the need for further sampling.

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Masafumi Hirose, Yukari N. Takayabu, Atsushi Hamada, Shoichi Shige, and Munehisa K. Yamamoto

Abstract

In this study, the spatial variability in precipitation at a 0.1° scale is investigated using long-term data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Precipitation Radar. Marked regional heterogeneities emerged for orographic rainfall on characteristic scales of tens of kilometers, high concentrations of small-scale systems (<10 km) over alpine areas, and sharp declines around mountain summits. In detecting microclimates, an additional concern is suspicious echoes observed around certain geographical areas with relatively low rainfall. A finescale land–river contrast can be extracted in the diurnal behavior of rainfall in medium-scale systems (10–100 km), corresponding to the course of the Amazon River. In addition, rainfall enhancement over small islands (0.1°–1°) was identified in terms of the storm scale. Even 0.1°-scale flat islands experience more rainfall than the adjacent ocean, primarily as a result of localized small or moderate systems. By contrast, compared with small islands, high-impact large-scale systems (>100 km) result in more rainfall over the adjacent ocean. Finescale hourly data represented the abrupt asymmetric fluctuation in rainfall across the coastline in the tropics and subtropics (30°S–30°N). Significant diurnal modulations in the rainfall due to large-scale systems are found over tropical offshore regions of vast landmasses but not over small islands or in the midlatitudes between 30° and 36°. Rainfall enhancement over small tropical islands is generated by abundant afternoon rainfall, which results from medium-scale storms that are regulated by the island size and inactivity of rainfall over coastal waters.

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