On the squall lines preceding landfalling tropical cyclones in china

Zhiyong Meng, Yunji Zhang

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48 Scopus citations


Based on a 3-yr (2007-09) mosaic of radar reflectivity and conventional surface and synoptic radiosonde observations, the general features of squall lines preceding landfalling tropical cyclones (TCs) (pre-TC) in China are examined and compared with their midlatitude and subtropical counterparts. The results show that about 40% of landfalling TCs are associated with pre-TC squall lines with high-occurring frequency in August and from late afternoon to midnight. Most pre-TC squall lines form in a broken-line mode with a trailingstratiform organization. On average, they occur about 600 km from the TC center in the front-right quadrant with a maximum length of 220 km, a maximum radar reflectivity of 57-62 dBZ, a life span of 4 h, and a moving speed of 12.5 m s -1. Pre-TC squall lines are generally shorter in lifetime and length than typical midlatitude squall lines. Pre-TC squall lines tend to form in the transition area between the parent TC and subtropical high in a moist environment and with a weaker cold pool than their midlatitude counterparts. The environmental 0-3-km vertical shear is around 10 m s -1 and generally normal to the orientation of the squall lines. This weak shear makes pre-TC squall lines in a suboptimal condition according to the Rottuno-Klemp-Weisman (RKW) theory. Convection is likely initiated by low-level mesoscale frontogenesis, convergence, and/or confluence instead of synoptic-scale forcing. The parent TC may contribute to (i) the development of convection by enhancing conditional instability and low-level moisture supply, and (ii) the linear organization of discrete convection through the interaction between the TC and the neighboring environmental system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-470
Number of pages26
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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