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  • Author or Editor: Ruoyu Lan x
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Guixing Chen, Ruoyu Lan, Wenxin Zeng, He Pan, and Weibiao Li

Abstract

The complex features of rainfall diurnal cycles at the south China coast are examined using hourly rain gauge data and satellite products (CMORPH and TRMM 3B42) during 1998–2014. It is shown that morning rainfall is pronounced near the coasts and windward mountains, with high rainfall in the summer monsoon season, while afternoon rainfall is dominant on land, and nocturnal rainfall occurs at northern inland sites. Both satellite products report less morning rainfall and more afternoon rainfall than the rain gauge data, and they also miss the midnight rainfall minimum. These errors are mainly attributable to an underestimation of morning moderate and intense rains at coasts and an overestimation of afternoon–evening light rains on land. With a correction of the systematic bias, satellite products faithfully resolve the spatial patterns of normalized rainfall diurnal cycles related to land–sea contrast and terrains, suggesting an improved data application for regional climate studies. In particular, they are comparable to the rain gauge data in showing the linear reduction of morning rainfall from coasts to inland regions. TRMM is marginally better than CMORPH in revealing the overall features of diurnal cycles, while higher-resolution CMORPH captures more local details. All three datasets also present that morning rainfall decreases from May–June to July–August, especially on land; it exhibits pronounced interannual variations and a decadal increase in 1998–2008 at coasts. Such long-term variations of morning rainfall are induced by the coastal convergence and mountain liftings of monsoon shear flow interacting with land breeze, which is mainly regulated by monsoon southwesterly winds in the northern part of the South China Sea.

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