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Numerical Study of OrograPhic-Convective Precipitation over the Eastern Arabian Sea and the Ghat Mountains during the Summer Monsoon

Yoshi OguraDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

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Masanori YoshizakiDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

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Abstract

When the western coast of India lies in the path of the low-level west-southwest wind crossing the Arabian Sea during the summer monsoon season, deep convection frequently develops over the ocean off the coast. In such a situation, the maximum rainfall occurs near the coast, not over the Western Ghats. In order to study the physics underlying orographic-convective precipitation over this area, a two-dimensional compressible moist cloud model is applied. The model is written in terrain-following coordinates and includes the Coriolis force and a planetary boundary layer parameterization. The initial fields of thermodynamic variables are specified using observed data gathered upstream of the offshore precipitating systems over the Arabian Sea. Two wind profiles are considered: vertically uniform and nonuniform flows. The latter profile represents a monsoonal westerly jet at low levels and easterlies in the layer above 5 km. Three cases are considered for each wind profile by including or omitting moisture in the atmosphere and heat and moisture fluxes from the ocean.

Among six cases considered, results from the moist and nonuniform wind profile case with heat and moisture fluxes from the ocean are found to be the most consistent with observations of precipitation rate, preferred location of rainfall, and lack of high-level clouds in the downwind side of the mountain. When fluxes from the ocean are excluded, the predicted rainfall accumulation is about the same. However, the maximum rainfall rate occurs over the mountain peak area, in disagreement with the observation. When fluxes from the ocean are included, but with the vertically uniform basic flow, the predicted maximum rainfall occurs at the coast. However, its rate is about half that observed. It is thus concluded that, in order to account for the observed features of rainfall over the Arabian Sea and the Ghat Mountains during the summer monsoon season, two factors, the strongly sheared environment and fluxes of latent and sensible heat from the ocean, are essential. These factors were not considered by Smith and Lin nor Grossman and Durran.

Abstract

When the western coast of India lies in the path of the low-level west-southwest wind crossing the Arabian Sea during the summer monsoon season, deep convection frequently develops over the ocean off the coast. In such a situation, the maximum rainfall occurs near the coast, not over the Western Ghats. In order to study the physics underlying orographic-convective precipitation over this area, a two-dimensional compressible moist cloud model is applied. The model is written in terrain-following coordinates and includes the Coriolis force and a planetary boundary layer parameterization. The initial fields of thermodynamic variables are specified using observed data gathered upstream of the offshore precipitating systems over the Arabian Sea. Two wind profiles are considered: vertically uniform and nonuniform flows. The latter profile represents a monsoonal westerly jet at low levels and easterlies in the layer above 5 km. Three cases are considered for each wind profile by including or omitting moisture in the atmosphere and heat and moisture fluxes from the ocean.

Among six cases considered, results from the moist and nonuniform wind profile case with heat and moisture fluxes from the ocean are found to be the most consistent with observations of precipitation rate, preferred location of rainfall, and lack of high-level clouds in the downwind side of the mountain. When fluxes from the ocean are excluded, the predicted rainfall accumulation is about the same. However, the maximum rainfall rate occurs over the mountain peak area, in disagreement with the observation. When fluxes from the ocean are included, but with the vertically uniform basic flow, the predicted maximum rainfall occurs at the coast. However, its rate is about half that observed. It is thus concluded that, in order to account for the observed features of rainfall over the Arabian Sea and the Ghat Mountains during the summer monsoon season, two factors, the strongly sheared environment and fluxes of latent and sensible heat from the ocean, are essential. These factors were not considered by Smith and Lin nor Grossman and Durran.

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