Statistics of heavy rainfall occurrences in Taiwan

Ching Sen Chen, Yi Leng Chen, Che Ling Liu, Pay Liam Lin, Wan Chin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The seasonal variations of heavy rainfall days over Taiwan are analyzed using 6-yr (1997-2002) hourly rainfall data from about 360 rainfall stations, including high-spatial-resolution Automatic Rainfall and Meteorological Telemetry System stations and 25 conventional stations. The seasonal variations and spatial variations of nontyphoon and typhoon heavy rainfall occurrences (i.e., the number of rainfall stations with rainfall rate >15 mm h-1 and daily accumulation >50 mm) are also analyzed. From mid-May to early October, with abundant moisture, potential instability, and the presence of mountainous terrain, nontyphoon heavy rainfall days are frequent (>60%), but only a few stations recorded extremely heavy rainfall (>130 mm day-1) during the passage of synoptic disturbances or the drifting of mesoscale convective systems inland. During the mei-yu season, especially in early June, these events are more widespread than in other seasons. The orographic effects are important in determining the spatial distribution of heavy rainfall occurrences with a pronounced afternoon maximum, especially during the summer months under the southwesterly monsoon flow. After the summer-autumn transition, heavy rainfall days are most frequent over northeastern Taiwan under the northeasterly monsoon flow. Extremely heavy rainfall events (>130 mm day-1) are infrequent during the winter months because of stable atmospheric stratification with a low moisture content. Typhoon heavy rainfall events start in early May and become more frequent in late summer and early autumn. During the analysis period, heavy rainfall occurrences are widespread and dominated by extremely heavy rainfall events (>130 mm day-1) on the windward slopes of the storm circulations. The spatial distribution of typhoon heavy rainfall occurrences depends on the typhoon track with very little diurnal variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-1002
Number of pages22
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Statistics of heavy rainfall occurrences in Taiwan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this