Dimension Characteristics and Precipitation Efficiency of Cumulonimbus Clouds in the Region Far South from the Mei-Yu Front over the Eastern Asian Continent

Shusse, Yukari; Tsuboki, Kazuhisa
July 2006
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2006, Vol. 134 Issue 7, p1942
Academic Journal
Dimension characteristics in precipitation properties of cumulonimbus clouds are basic parameters in understanding the vertical transport of water vapor in the atmosphere. In this study, the dimension characteristics and precipitation efficiency of cumulonimbus clouds observed in the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Asian Monsoon Experiment (GAME) Huaihe River Basin Experiment (HUBEX) are studied using data from X-band Doppler radars and upper-air soundings. The maximum echo area (EAmax) of the cumulonimbus clouds ranged from 0.5 to 470 km2, and the maximum echo top (ETmax) ranged from 2 to 19 km. The total number of cells (TNC) within the cumulonimbus clouds over their lifetime was from 1 to 25. The ETmax, TNC, area time integral (ATI), and total rainfall amount (Rtot) strongly correlate with the EAmax of the cumulonimbus clouds. The cell-averaged ATI (ATIcell = ATI/TNC), maximum rainfall intensity (RImax), and cell-averaged rainfall amount (Rcell = Rtot/TNC) increase when the EAmax is smaller than 100 km2. On the other hand, they are almost constant when the EAmax is larger than 100 km2. The rain productivity of small clouds (<100 km2 in EAmax) increases not only by the increase of the TNC but also by the intensification of cells, while that of large cumulonimbus clouds (>100 km2 in EAmax) increases by the increase of the TNC rather than by the intensification of cells. In the present study, precipitation efficiency (ℇp) is defined as the ratio of the total rainfall amount (Rtot) to the total water vapor amount ingested into the cloud through the cloud base (Vtot). The ℇp was calculated for six clouds whose vertical velocity data at the cloud-base level were deduced by dual-Doppler analysis throughout their lifetime. The ℇp ranged from 0.03% to 9.31% and exhibited a strong positive correlation with the EAmax. This indicates that more than 90% of the water vapor that enters the clouds through the cloud base is consumed to moisten the atmosphere and less than 10% is converted to precipitation and returned to the ground. The cumulonimbus clouds in the region far south from the mei-yu front over the eastern Asian continent efficiently transport water vertically and humidify the upper troposphere.


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