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Pao-Liang Chang and Pin-Fang Lin

Abstract

In this study, unusual radar anomalous propagation (AP) phenomena associated with foehn winds induced by Typhoon Krosa (2007) were documented by using observations from radar, surface stations, and soundings. The AP echoes embedded within rainband areas and exhibited inward motions toward the radar site within 2–3 h prior to the occurrences of foehn winds at the radar site, which would interfere with the interpretation of radar data and associated downstream applications. As Typhoon Krosa appeared in the vicinity of the northeastern coast of Taiwan, foehn winds with significant subsidence warming and drying generated by downslope winds were observed in southeastern Taiwan. The foehn winds continuously moved northward within confined areas from the southeastern to eastern–central parts of Taiwan. Before the foehn winds penetrated to the surface, the subsidence warming introduced a temperature inversion layer above the surface and caused the ducting of radar beams. Analyses of refractive index and ray tracing suggested that the occurrence and evolution of the AP echoes during Typhoon Krosa were closely related to the varying inversion heights induced by downslope winds.

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Yadong Wang, Jian Zhang, Pao-Liang Chang, and Qing Cao

Abstract

Complex terrain poses challenges to the ground-based radar quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) because of partial or total blockages of radar beams in the lower tilts. Reflectivities from higher tilts are often used in the QPE under these circumstances and biases are then introduced due to vertical variations of reflectivity. The spaceborne Precipitation Radar (PR) on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can provide good measurements of the vertical structure of reflectivity even in complex terrain, but the poor temporal resolution of TRMM PR data limits their usefulness in real-time QPE. This study proposes a novel vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR) correction approach to enhance ground radar–based QPEs in complex terrain by integrating the spaceborne radar observations. In the current study, climatological relationships between VPRs from an S-band Doppler weather radar located on the east coast of Taiwan and the TRMM PR are developed using an artificial neural network (ANN). When a lower tilt of the ground radar is blocked, higher-tilt reflectivity data are corrected with the trained ANN and then applied in the rainfall estimation. The proposed algorithm was evaluated with three typhoon precipitation events, and its preliminary performance was evaluated and analyzed.

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Pao-Liang Chang, Ben Jong-Dao Jou, and Jian Zhang

Abstract

A tropical cyclone (TC) eye tracking (TCET) algorithm is presented in this study to objectively identify and track the eye and center of a tropical cyclone using radar reflectivity data. Twelve typhoon cases were studied for evaluating the TCET algorithm. Results show that the TCET can track TC centers for several hours. The longest tracking time is about 35 h. Eye locations estimated from different radars showed consistency with a mean distance bias of about 3.5 km and a standard deviation of about 1.5 km. The TCET analysis shows decreasing eye radius as TCs approach land, especially within 50 km of the coastline.

The TCET algorithm is computationally efficient and can be automated by using the TC center in the previous volume or the estimated center from satellite images as an initial guess. The TCET may not accurately find the TC center when a TC is weak or does not have an enclosed eyewall or when it does have highly noncircular eyes. However, the algorithm is still suitable for operational implementation and provides high spatial and temporal resolution information for TC centers and eye radii, especially for intense TCs.

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Wen-Chau Lee, Ben J-D. Jou, Pao-Liang Chang, and Frank D. Marks Jr.

Abstract

This paper is the third of a series that focuses on the applications of the ground-based velocity track display (GBVTD) technique and the GBVTD-simplex center finding algorithm developed in the previous two papers to a real tropical cyclone (TC). The evolution and structure of Typhoon Alex (1987), including full tangential winds, mean radial winds, one component of the mean flow, and their derived axisymmetric angular momentum and perturbation pressure fields are reconstructed from 16 volume scans (6.5 h of data with a 2-h gap) from the Civil Aeronautic Administration (CAA) Doppler radar while Typhoon Alex moved across the mountainous area in northern Taiwan.

This analysis retrieves a plausible and physically consistent three-dimensional primary circulation of a landfalling TC using a single ground-based Doppler radar. Highly asymmetric wind structures were resolved by the GBVTD technique where the maximum relative tangential wind at z = 2 km evolved from 52 m s−1 (before landfall), to less than 40 m s−1 (after landfall), to less than 35 m s−1 (entering the East China Sea). Alex’s eye began to fill with precipitation while its intensity decreased rapidly after landfall, a characteristic of circulations disrupted by terrain. The mean radial wind field revealed a layer of low-level inflow in agreement with past TC observations. The outward slope of the eyewall reflectivity maximum was consistent with the constant angular momentum contours within the eyewall. After Alex entered the East China Sea, its circulation became more axisymmetric.

The axisymmetric perturbation pressure field was retrieved using the gradient wind approximation, which, when used in conjunction with one or more surface pressure measurements within the analysis domain, can estimate the central pressure. The retrieved perturbation pressure fields at two time periods were compared with surface pressures reported in northern Taiwan. Considering the assumptions involved and the influence of terrain, good agreement (only 1–2-mb deviation) was found between them. This agreement indicates the relative quality of the GBVTD-retrieved axisymmetric circulation and suggests GBVTD-retrieved quantities can be useful in operational and research applications.

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Pao-Liang Chang, Wei-Ting Fang, Pin-Fang Lin, and Yu-Shuang Tang

Abstract

As Typhoon Goni (2015) passed over Ishigaki Island, a maximum gust speed of 71 m s−1 was observed by a surface weather station. During Typhoon Goni’s passage, mountaintop radar recorded antenna elevation angle oscillations, with a maximum amplitude of ~0.2° at an elevation angle of 0.2°. This oscillation phenomenon was reflected in the reflectivity and Doppler velocity fields as Typhoon Goni’s eyewall encompassed Ishigaki Island. The main antenna oscillation period was approximately 0.21–0.38 s under an antenna rotational speed of ~4 rpm. The estimated fundamental vibration period of the radar tower is approximately 0.25–0.44 s, which is comparable to the predominant antenna oscillation period and agrees with the expected wind-induced vibrations of buildings. The reflectivity field at the 0.2° elevation angle exhibited a phase shift signature and a negative correlation of −0.5 with the antenna oscillation, associated with the negative vertical gradient of reflectivity. FFT analysis revealed two antenna oscillation periods at 0955–1205 and 1335–1445 UTC 23 August 2015. The oscillation phenomenon ceased between these two periods because Typhoon Goni’s eye moved over the radar site. The VAD analysis-estimated wind speeds at a range of 1 km for these two antenna oscillation periods exceeded 45 m s−1, with a maximum value of approximately 70 m s−1. A bandpass filter QC procedure is proposed to filter out the predominant wavenumbers (between 40 and 70) for the reflectivity and Doppler velocity fields. The proposed QC procedure is indicated to be capable of mitigating the major signals resulting from antenna oscillations.

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Wen-Chau Lee, Ben Jong-Dao Jou, Pao-Liang Chang, and Shiung-Ming Deng

Abstract

Deducing the three-dimensional primary circulation of landfalling tropical cyclones (TCs) from single ground-based Doppler radar data remains a difficult task. The evolution and structure of landfalling TCs and their interactions with terrain are left uncharted due to the lack of dual-Doppler radar observations. Existing ground-based single-Doppler radar TC algorithms provide only qualitative information on axisymmetric TC center location and intensity. In order to improve understanding of the wind structures of landfalling TCs using the widely available WSR-88D data along the U.S. coastal region, a single ground-based radar TC wind retrieval technique, the ground-based Velocity Track Display (GBVTD) technique, is developed. Part I of this paper presents 1) single-Doppler velocity patterns of analytic, asymmetric TCs, 2) derivation of the GBVTD technique, and 3) evaluation of the GBVTD-retrieved winds using analytic TCs.

The Doppler velocity patterns of asymmetric TCs display more complex structure than their axisymmetric counterparts. The asymmetric structure of TCs can be inferred qualitatively from the pattern (or curvature) of the zero Doppler velocity line and the position and shape of the Doppler velocity dipole. However, without knowing the axisymmetric portion of the TC circulation, it is extremely difficult to extract quantitative information from these similar Doppler velocity patterns.

Systematic evaluations on the GBVTD-retrieved winds show good agreement compared with the original analytic wind fields for axisymmetric flows plus mean wind and/or angular wavenumber 1, 2, and 3 asymmetry. It is also shown that the GBVTD technique retrieves wind maxima that are not directly observed (perpendicular to the radar beams) because the GBVTD technique uses the Doppler velocity gradient, not the observed maxima, to retrieve wind maxima. The success of the GBVTD-retrieved winds and understanding their characteristics provide the theoretical basis to nowcast TC kinematic structure.

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Pin-Fang Lin, Pao-Liang Chang, Ben Jong-Dao Jou, James W. Wilson, and Rita D. Roberts

Abstract

In this study, a fuzzy logic algorithm is developed to provide objective guidance for the prediction of afternoon thunderstorms in northern Taiwan using preconvective predictors during the warm season (May–October) from 2005 to 2008. The predictors are derived from surface stations and sounding measurements. The study is limited to 277 days when synoptic forcing was weak and thermal instability produced by the solar heating is primarily responsible for thunderstorm initiation. The fuzzy algorithm contains 29 predictors and associated weights. The weights are based on the maximum of the critical success index (CSI) to forecast afternoon thunderstorms. The most important predictors illustrate that under relatively warm and moist synoptic conditions, sea-breeze transport of moisture into the Taipei Basin along with weak winds inland provide favorable conditions for the occurrence of afternoon convective storms. In addition, persistence of yesterday’s convective storm activity contributed to improving today’s forecast. Skill score comparison between the fuzzy algorithm and forecasters from the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau showed that for forecasting afternoon thunderstorms, the fuzzy logic algorithm outperformed the operational forecasters. This was the case for both the calibration and independent datasets. There was a tendency for the forecasters to overforecast the number of afternoon thunderstorm days. The fuzzy logic algorithm is able to integrate the preconvective predictors and provide probability guidance for the prediction of afternoon thunderstorms under weak synoptic-scale conditions, and could be implemented in real-time operations as a forecaster aid.

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Pao-Liang Chang, Pin-Fang Lin, Ben Jong-Dao Jou, and Jian Zhang

Abstract

Three years’ worth of radar reflectivity data from four radars in an area of complex terrain (Taiwan) from 2005 to 2007 were analyzed and a reflectivity climatology was developed. The climatology was applied in the construction of new hybrid scans to minimize the impacts of ground clutter and beam blockages. The reflectivity climatology showed significant seasonal variations and captured distributions of ground/sea clutters, beam blockages, and anomalous propagations in addition to precipitation systems in the radar domains.

By comparing the reflectivity climatology with gauge observations, it was found that 15 (20) dBZ was a good approximation for rain/no-rain segregation during cool (warm) seasons. Comparisons between the standard (i.e., based on terrain and scan strategies only with the assumption of standard propagations) and nonstandard (i.e., standard plus the clutter and blockage mitigation using the reflectivity climatology) hybrid scans showed that the former did not accurately reflect the clutter and blockage distributions in the real atmosphere. The application of the reflectivity climatology was shown to significantly reduce the impacts of clutter and blockages and provided improved radar quantitative precipitation estimates (QPEs) in the complex terrain.

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Pao-Liang Chang, Wei-Ting Fang, Pin-Fang Lin, and Ming-Jen Yang

Abstract

In this study, a vortex-based Doppler velocity dealiasing (VDVD) algorithm for tropical cyclones (TCs) is proposed. The algorithm uses a Rankine combined vortex model as a reference field for dealiasing based on an inner–outer iterative procedure. The structure of the reference vortex is adjusted in an inner iterative procedure of VDVD that applies the ground-based velocity track display (GBVTD) technique. The outer loop of the VDVD based on the GBVTD-simplex algorithm is used for center correction. The VDVD is able to recover not only the aliased Doppler velocities from a simulated symmetric vortex but also those superimposed with wavenumber-1 asymmetry, radial wind, or mean flow. For real cases, the VDVD provides dealiased Doppler velocity with 99.4% accuracy for all pixels, based on 472 elevation sweeps from a typhoon without landfall. It is suggested that the VDVD algorithm can improve the quality of downstream applications such as Doppler wind retrievals and radar data assimilations of TCs and other storms, such as tornadoes and mesocyclones, with vortex signatures.

Open access
Pin-Fang Lin, Pao-Liang Chang, Ben Jong-Dao Jou, James W. Wilson, and Rita D. Roberts

Abstract

The spatial and temporal characteristics and distributions of thunderstorms in Taiwan during the warm season (May–October) from 2005 to 2008 and under weak synoptic-scale forcing are documented using radar reflectivity, lightning, radiosonde, and surface data. Average hourly rainfall amounts peaked in midafternoon (1500–1600 local solar time, LST). The maximum frequency of rain was located in a narrow strip, parallel to the orientation of the mountains, along the lower slopes of the mountains. Significant diurnal variations were found in surface wind, temperature, and dewpoint temperature between days with and without afternoon thunderstorms (TSA and non-TSA days). Before thunderstorms occurred, on TSA days, the surface temperature was warmer (about 0.5°–1.5°C) and the surface dewpoint temperature was moister (about 0.5°–2°C) than on non-TSA days. Sounding observations from northern Taiwan also showed warmer and higher moisture conditions on TSA days relative to non-TSA days. The largest average difference was in the 750–550-hPa layer where the non-TSA days averaged 2.5°–3.5°C drier. These preconvective factors associated with the occurrences of afternoon thunderstorms could be integrated into nowcasting tools to enhance warning systems and decision-making capabilities in real-time operations.

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