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Peiying Guan, Guixing Chen, Wenxin Zeng, and Qian Liu

Abstract

Successive mesoscale convective systems may develop for several days during the mei-yu season (June–July) over eastern China. They can yield excessive rainfall in a narrow latitudinal band (called a corridor), causing severe floods. The climatology of rainfall corridors and related environmental factors are examined using 20 yr of satellite rainfall and atmospheric data. A total of 93 corridors are observed over eastern China, with maximum occurrence at 27°–31°N. They typically last 2–3 days, but some persist ≥4 days, with an extreme event lasting 11 days. These multiday convective episodes exhibit primary and secondary peaks in the morning and afternoon, respectively, with a diurnal cycle that is in contrast to other afternoon-peak rain events. On average, the corridors occur in ~23% days of the mei-yu season, but they can contribute ~51% of the total rainfall. They also vary with years and explain ~70% of the interannual variance of mei-yu-season rainfall. Composite analyses show that most corridors develop along zonally oriented quasi-stationary mei-yu fronts over central China where monsoon southwesterlies converge with northerly anomalies from the midlatitudes. The monsoon flow accelerates at ~0200 LST and forms a regional wind maximum or low-level jet over South China, which induces moisture flux convergence in morning-peak corridors. The nocturnal acceleration is less evident for afternoon-peak corridors. The mei-yu front and monsoon southwesterlies also influence the corridor’s duration, which is regulated by a dipole of geopotential anomalies, with positive in the tropics and negative in the midlatitudes. The dipole expresses a joint influence of the blocking patterns in midlatitudes and the El Niño–related anomalous high over the western Pacific Ocean, and the dipole's intensity explains well the interannual variations of the corridors.

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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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Wenxin Zeng, Guixing Chen, Yu Du, and Zhiping Wen

Abstract

A succession of MCSs developed during the last week of October 2016 and produced extreme heavy rainfall in central China. The event underwent an evident shift from a mei-yu-like warm scenario to an autumn cold scenario. Diurnal cycles of rainfall and low-level winds may be modulated by the shifting of large-scale atmospheric conditions. We conducted observational analyses and numerical experiments to examine how large-scale circulations influenced rainfall systems through diurnally varying processes. The results show that, in the first half (warm) period of the event, intense rainfall mostly occurred in eastern-central China with an early morning peak. It was closely related to a nocturnal southwesterly low-level jet (NLLJ) on the flank of the western Pacific subtropical high. The NLLJ formed near midnight in southern China where ageostrophic wind rotated clockwise due to Blackadar’s inertial oscillation. The NLLJ extended downstream to central China during the predawn hours due to the horizontal advection of momentum. Both the formation and extension of the NLLJ were supported by an enhanced subtropical high that provided relatively warm conditions with surface heating for boundary layer inertial oscillation and strong background southwesterly winds for momentum transport. The NLLJ induced MCSs at its northern terminus where the low-level ascent, moisture flux convergence, and convective instability were enhanced during the predawn hours. In the second half period with an intrusion of cold air, the diurnal amplitude of low-level winds became small under relatively cold and cloudy conditions. Moderate rainfall tended to occur in western-central China with a peak after midnight, most likely due to frontogenetic processes, upslope lifting, and nighttime cloud-top cooling.

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Wenxin Fan, Yi Liu, Adrian Chappell, Li Dong, Rongrong Xu, Marie Ekström, Tzung-May Fu, and Zhenzhong Zeng

Abstract

Global reanalysis products are important tools across disciplines to study past meteorological changes and are especially useful for wind energy resource evaluations. Studies of observed wind speed show that land surface wind speed declined globally since the 1960s (known as global terrestrial stilling) but reversed with a turning point around 2010. Whether the declining trend and the turning point have been captured by reanalysis products remains unknown so far. To fill this research gap, a systematic assessment of climatological winds and trends in five reanalysis products (ERA5, ERA-Interim, MERRA-2, JRA-55, and CFSv2) was conducted by comparing gridcell time series of 10-m wind speed with observational data from 1439 in situ meteorological stations for the period 1989–2018. Overall, ERA5 is the closest to the observations according to the evaluation of climatological winds. However, substantial discrepancies were found between observations and simulated wind speeds. No reanalysis product showed similar change to that of the global observations, although some showed regional agreement. This discrepancy between observed and reanalysis land surface wind speed indicates the need for prudence when using reanalysis products for the evaluation and prediction of winds. The possible reasons for the inconsistent wind speed trends between reanalysis products and observations are analyzed. The results show that wind energy production should select different products for different regions to minimize the discrepancy with observations.

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