A case of the heavy rain vortex which occurred during the period 14–15 July 1979 is studied using a limited-area mesoscale numerical model. This is a representative example of a group of warm southwest vortices that often form over the eastern flank of the Tibetan Plateau after the onset of the summer Indian monsoon.
Some common features of the dynamic structures exhibited both by the simulation and by observations are discussed. The developing vortex is noticeably detached from the polar frontal zone. A 180° phase shift exists between the upper and lower layer vorticity fields. In the boundary layer, a pronounced northward transport of mass and moisture is connected with an intense upward motion near and to the east of the 700-mb vortex center, whole the southward cold advection is insignificant.
The vortex originated and rapidly developed in a stagnation region on the lee side of the plateau. The presence of the stagnation region not only removes local dynamical energy sources from the environmental flow, but also diminishes topographic generation of vorticity by reducing the vortex stretching in the wind component flowing over the plateau and the horizontal convergence in the component moving around the plateau. Without latent heating, dynamic instability and/or forcing of the large-scale flow interacting with the Tibetan Plateau is not sufficient to generate the observed disturbance.
On the other hand, the plateau blocking effect favors the establishment of a conditionally unstable environment. The simulation indicates that a sudden onset of vigorous deep convection, following by a rapid growth of relative vorticity in the lower troposphere, takes place once the dynamic forcing associated with a mesoscale plateau disturbance was positioned over the western stagnation region. Our principle result is that the warm heavy rain vortex in this can study is triggered by a migratory plateau boundary layer disturbance and basically driven by cumulus convective heating. The thermal influence of the elevated plateau topography may appreciably affect the vortex initiation through changing the intensity of the forcing associated with the triggering mechanism.