The authors would like to express their hearty thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript. They also would like to acknowledge Dr. Anthony Del Genio for his kind help as an editor. This work is partially supported by the Global Environment Research Fund (S-5) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, and by the TRMM Fifth Japanese Research Announcement (TRMM JRA5) by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The Grid Analysis and Display System (GrADS) is utilized for plotting the figures.
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