The spatiotemporal characteristics of near-surface water vapor in a coastal region revealed from radar-derived refractivity

YA CHIEN FENG, HSIU WEI HSU, TAMMY M. WECKWERTH, PAY LIAM LIN, YU CHIENG LIOU, TAI CHI CHEN WANG

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The radar-retrieved refractivity fields provide detailed depictions of the near-surface moisture distribution at the meso-γ scale. This study represents a novel application of the refractivity fields by examining the spatiotemporal characteristics of moisture variability in a summertime coastal region in Taiwan over 4 weeks. The physiography in Taiwan lends itself to a variety of flow features and corresponding moisture behavior, which has not been well studied. Highresolution refractivity analyses demonstrate how a highly variable moisture field is related to the complex interaction between the synoptic-scale winds, diurnal local circulations, terrain, storms, and heterogeneous land use. On average, higher refractivity (water vapor) is observed along the coastline and refractivity decreases inland toward the foothills. Under weak synoptic forcing conditions, the daytime refractivity field develops differently under local surface wind directions determined by the synoptic-scale prevailing wind and the sea-breeze fronts. High moisture penetrates inland toward the foothills with southwesterly winds, but it stalls along the coastline with southerly and northwesterly winds. The moisture distribution may further affect the occurrence of the inland afternoon storms. During the nighttime, the dry downslope wind decreases the moisture from the foothills toward the coast and forms a refractivity gradient perpendicular to the meridionally oriented mountains. Furthermore, the refractivity fields illustrate higher-resolution moisture distribution over surface station point measurements by showing the lagged daytime sea-breeze front between the urban and rural areas and the detailed nighttime heterogeneous moisture distribution related to land-use and rivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2853-2874
Number of pages22
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume149
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Coastal meteorology
  • Diurnal effects
  • Humidity
  • Hydrology
  • Land use
  • Moisture/moisture budget
  • Radars/Radar observations
  • Surface observations

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