Characteristics of Heavy Summer Rainfall in Southwestern Taiwan in Relation to Orographic Effects

Ching-Sen CHEN, Wan-Chin CHEN, Wei-Kuo TAO
2004 Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan  
About a quarter to a half of all rainfall from mid-July through August from 1994 to 2000, on the windward side of southwestern Taiwan, came from convective systems embedded in the monsoon flow associated with the southwesterly monsoon. In this study, the causes of two heavy rainfall events (daily rainfall exceeding 100 mm day À1 over at least three rainfall stations), observed over the slopes and/or lowlands of southwestern Taiwan were examined. Data from the European Center for Medium-Range
more » ... for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts/Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere (EC/TOGA) analyses, the rainfall stations of the Automatic Rainfall and Meteorological Telemetry System (ARMTS) and the conventional surface stations over Taiwan, and the simulation results from a regional-scale numerical model were used to accomplish the objectives. In one event, on 9 August 1999, heavy rainfall of up to 393 mm was observed over the windward slopes of southern Taiwan in a potentially unstable environment, with very humid air around 850 hPa. The extreme accumulation was simulated and attributed to orographic lifting effects as preexisting convection did not drift into western Taiwan from the Taiwan Strait. In another event, on 13 August 1994, with a maximum rainfall of 450 mm, westerly flow with potentially unstable and very moist air in the lowest layers, converged with northwesterly flow from the central Taiwan Strait over the southwestern coast. The westerly flow decelerated while approaching Taiwan, resulting in enhanced convergence and upward motion over the coastal area and a high amount of rainfall. In addition, a mesoscale convergence area was produced over the southern Taiwan Strait near the southwestern coast of Taiwan due to synoptic circulations. Some convection formed in the ocean near the southwest coast and drifted inland. This situation also enhanced precipitation over the coastal areas. Northwesterly flow formed over the southwestern slopes as weak westerly flow approached the mountains. As rainwater from the Strait and coastal areas moved eastward toward the slopes, the northwesterly flow transported the rainwater southeastward away from the southwestern slopes. Subsequently, less rainfall occurred over the southwestern slopes than over the coastal areas.
doi:10.2151/jmsj.82.1521 fatcat:4rtiepsp3jfmdd5kklk54bnncu