Colorado State University

Refereed Publications

Cole, A. S., M. M. Bell, and J. C. DeHart, : An Ensemble-Based Analysis of a Liminal Extreme Rainfall Event near Taiwan. Atmosphere, 13, 1011 ,

Key Points

  • Abstract

    This study analyzes an ensemble of numerical simulations of a heavy rainfall event east of Taiwan on 9 June 2020. Heavy rainfall was produced by quasi-stationary back-building mesoscale convective systems (MCS) associated with a mei-yu front. Global model forecast skill was poor in location and intensity of rainfall. The mesoscale ensemble showed liminal conditions between heavy rainfall or little to no rainfall. The two most accurate and two least accurate ensemble members are selected for analysis via validation against radar-estimated rainfall observations. All members feature moist soundings with low levels of free convection (LFC) and sufficient instability for deep convection. We find that stronger gradients in 100-m θe and θv in the most accurate members associated with a near-surface frontal boundary focus the lifting mechanism for deep, moist convection and enhanced rainfall. As the simulations progress, stronger southerly winds in the least accurate members advect drier mid-level air into the region of interest and shift the near-surface boundary further north and west. Analysis of the verification ensemble mean analysis reveals a strong near-surface frontal boundary similarly positioned as in the most accurate members and dry air aloft more similar to that in the least accurate members, suggesting that the positioning of the frontal boundary is more critical to accurately reproducing rainfall patterns and intensity in this case. The analyses suggest that subtle details in the simulation of frontal boundaries and mesoscale flow structures can lead to bifurcations in producing extreme or almost no rainfall. Implications for improved probabilistic forecasts of heavy rainfall events will be discussed.

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    This research was funded by National Science Foundation award number AGS-1854559.We would like to thank Yunji Zhang for conducting the numerical simulations and providing the ensemble output. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments which improved the manuscript.