Mesoscale processes for super heavy rainfall of typhoon Morakot (2009) over southern Taiwan

C. Y. Lin, H. M. Hsu, Y. F. Shengl, C. H. Kuo, Y. A. Liou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Within 100 h, a record-breaking rainfall, 2855 mm, was brought to Taiwan by typhoon Morakot in August 2009 resulting in devastating landslides and casualties. Analyses and simulations show that under favorable large-scale situations, this unprecedented precipitation was caused first by the convergence of the southerly component of the pre-existing strong southwesterly monsoonal flow and the northerly component of the typhoon circulation. Then the westerly component of southwesterly flow pushed the highly moist air (mean specific humidity >16 g/kg between 950 and 700 hPa from NCEP GFS data set) eastward against the Central Mountain Range, and forced it to lift in the preferred area. From the fine-scale numerical simulation, not only did the convergence itself provide the source of the heavy rainfall when it interacted with the topography, but also convective cells existed within the typhoon's main rainband. The convective cells were in the form of small rainbands perpendicular to the main one, and propagated as wave trains downwind. As the main rainband moved northward and reached the southern CMR, convective cells inside the narrow convergence zone to the south and those to the north as wave trains, both rained heavily as they were lifted by the west-facing mountain slopes. Those mesoscale processes were responsible for the unprecedented heavy rainfall total that accompanied this typhoon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-361
Number of pages17
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

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