"Warm Rain" in the Tropics: Seasonal and Regional Distributions Based on 9 yr of TRMM Data

Chuntao Liu, Edward J. Zipser
2009 Journal of Climate  
How much precipitation is contributed by warm rain systems over the tropics? What is the typical size, intensity, and echo top of warm rain events observed by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar over different regions of the tropics? What proportion of warm raining areas is actually attached to the edges of cold systems? Are there mesoscale warm raining systems, and if so, where and when do they occur? To answer these questions, a 9-yr TRMM precipitation feature
more » ... ipitation feature database is used in this study. First, warm rain features in 208S-208N are selected by specifying precipitation features 1) with minimum infrared brightness temperature . 08C, 2) with TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) echo top below freezing level, or 3) without any ice-scattering signature in the microwave observations, respectively. Then, the geographical, seasonal, and diurnal variations of the rain volume inside warm rain features defined in these three ways are presented. The characteristics of warm rain features are summarized. Raining pixels with cloud-top temperature above 08C contribute 20% of the rainfall over tropical oceans and 7.5% over tropical land. However, about half of the warm pixels over oceans and two-thirds of the warm pixels over land are attached to cold precipitation systems. A large amount of warm rainfall occurs over oceans near windward coasts during winter. Most of the warm rain systems have small size , 100 km 2 and weak radar echo with a modal maximum near-surface reflectivity around 23 dBZ. However, mesoscale warm rain systems with strong radar echoes do occur in large regions of the tropical oceans, more during the nighttime than during daytime. Though the mean height of the warm precipitation features over oceans is lower than that over land, there is no significant regional difference in its size and intensity.
doi:10.1175/2008jcli2641.1 fatcat:hwdzjp7e4zfydmbv4ik5rdkcyy