The heavy rainfall mechanism revealed by a terrain-resolving 4dvar data assimilation system-A case study

Sheng Lun Tai, Yu Chieng Liou, Shao Fan Chang, Juanzhen Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this research a newly developed terrain-resolving four-dimensional variational (4DVar)-based data assimilation system, Immersed Boundary Method_Variational Doppler Radar Analysis System (IBM_VDRAS), is applied to investigate the mechanisms leading to a heavy precipitation event that occurred in Taiwan during the Southwesterly Monsoon Experiment (SoWMEX) conducted in 2008. The multivariate analyses using IBM_VDRAS and surface observations reveal that the warm and moist southwesterly flow from the ocean decelerates after making landfall, forming a surface convergence zone along the coast, which is further strengthened during the passage of a prefrontal rainband. The flow ascends as it advances inland until reaching the mountains, producing persistent precipitation and the enhancement of evaporative cooling as well as a widespread high pressure zone. A very shallow (,0.4 km) layer of offshore flow can be identified over the southwestern plain, which helps to generate a quasi-stationary convergence zone near the coast. Sensitivity studies are carried out to quantify the relative importance of the contributions made by topographic blockage, evaporative cooling, and their nonlinear interaction, to the evolution of this type of convective system. The influence of the topography is identified as the dominant factor in modulating the flow structure of the rainfall system. However, it is the nonlinear interaction between terrain and evaporation that determines the distribution of the temperature and pressure fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2307-2330
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


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