Diurnal evolution and structure of long-lived mesoscale convective vortices along the mei-yu front over the east China plains

Yuanchun Zhang, Fuqing Zhang, Christopher A. Davis, Jianhua Sun

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The structure and diurnal evolution of long-lived, eastward-propagating mesoscale convective vortices (MCVs) along typical summertime mei-yu fronts over the east China plains are investigated through composite analysis of a 30-day semi-idealized simulation. The simulation uses lateral boundary conditions that vary only diurnally in time using analyses of recurring MCV events during 1-10 July 2007. Hence, the behavior of convection and vorticity follows a closely repeating diurnal cycle for each day during the simulation. Assisted by the eastward extension of enhanced vorticity anomalies from the Sichuan basin, the incipient MCV forms in the morning hours over the immediate lee (east) of the central China mountain ranges (stage 1). From local afternoon to early evening, as the MCV moves over the plains, convection weakens in the daytime downward branch of the mountain-plains solenoid. This allows the upper-level and lower-level portions of the vortex to partially decouple, and for convection to shift to the east-southeast side of the surface vortex (stage 2). Immediately after sunset, convection reinvigorates above the low-level MCV center as a result of moistening and destabilization from a combination of radiative forcing and an intensified low-level jet. This intensifies the MCV to maturity (stage 3). The mature MCV eventually evolves into an occluding subsynoptic cyclone with strong convection across all sectors of the low-level vorticity center during the subsequent day's morning hours along the east China coastal plains before it moves offshore (stage 4).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1025
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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