Precipitation-Moisture Coupling Over Tropical Oceans: Sequential Roles of Shallow, Deep, and Mesoscale Convective Systems

Xingchao Chen, L. Ruby Leung, Zhe Feng, Qiu Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Precipitation over tropical oceans rapidly increases when the environmental column saturation fraction (CSF) increases past a critical value of ∼0.7. Past studies suggested that increased stratiform rainfall greatly contributes to the rapid rainfall enhancement. In this study, the sequential roles of non-deep convection, deep convection, and mesoscale convective system (MCS) in precipitation-moisture interactions are examined using 19 years of satellite observations. When CSF is below ∼0.5, non-deep convection dominates total rainfall, and predominantly contributes to moistening of the environment. Between the CSF range of 0.5–0.7, transition to deep convective rainfall begins. Meanwhile, MCS contribution to total rain rapidly increases, and the environment is further moistened. MCS becomes the major rainfall type above the critical CSF value (∼0.7), with the rapid increase of total rain mostly explained by the rapid increase in MCS rain area. Rainfall reduction at high CSF values is jointly contributed by MCS and non-deep convection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GL097836
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume49
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 16 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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