Chang Yi, Guo Xueliang, Tang Jie, et al. Microphysical characteristics and precipitation formation mechanisms of convective clouds over the Tibetan Plateau. J Appl Meteor Sci, 2021, 32(6): 720-734. DOI:  10.11898/1001-7313.20210607.
Citation: Chang Yi, Guo Xueliang, Tang Jie, et al. Microphysical characteristics and precipitation formation mechanisms of convective clouds over the Tibetan Plateau. J Appl Meteor Sci, 2021, 32(6): 720-734. DOI:  10.11898/1001-7313.20210607.

Microphysical Characteristics and Precipitation Formation Mechanisms of Convective Clouds over the Tibetan Plateau in Summer

DOI: 10.11898/1001-7313.20210607
  • Received Date: 2021-07-12
  • Rev Recd Date: 2021-08-10
  • Publish Date: 2021-11-23
  • Tibetan Plateau (TP) has high impact on weather, climate, and water cycle of China, and it also affects the flood and drought in south China by modulating the onset and retreat of the Asian monsoon. However, owning to the lack of direct observations, the knowledge of microphysical characteristics and mechanisms inside the clouds over TP is still seriously lacking. During the Third Tibetan Plateau Atmospheric Scientific Experiment (TIPEX-Ⅲ), field observations is carried out in the summer of 2014, which employed ground-based and airborne instruments. By using the aircraft measurements collected during the TIPEX-Ⅲ, the microphysical characteristics and precipitation formation mechanisms of summertime clouds are studied. The results show that clouds detected by the aircraft are mainly newly born or developing mixed-phase convective clouds, as well as some residual clouds. The maximum and average concentrations of cloud drops are 1.1×105 L-1 and (9±10)×103 L-1, respectively, and the order of magnitude is 104 L-1, which is lower than clouds of plain and maritime regions by 1-2 orders. The maximum concentration for larger cloud particles is 28.82 L-1, and the order of magnitude is 100-101 L-1, which is also lower than other regions. The maximum liquid and total water content are 0.25 g·m-3 and 1.33 g·m-3, respectively, and the order of magnitude is 10-1-100 g·m-3, with abundant supercooled liquid water content in the clouds. The uplifting velocity distributes mainly in the range of 1-4 m·s-1 with a maximum of 4.3 m·s-1, indicating the convective clouds over the TP are weaker than other regions. The cloud drop size distributions (DSD) are mostly bimodal with different second peaks at the larger end, and some of the DSDs are unimodal, which are mainly found in newly borne clouds. There are more large cloud drops and drizzles in the clouds over the TP, which is the result of active warm rain processes. And the ice particles mainly consist of opaque and dense graupels as well as some needles and plates, indicating active rimming processes. The warm rain processes do not generate rain directly, but contribute to the subsequent glaciation and rimming processes, leading to the quick formation of precipitation over the TP. The residual clouds show similar ice characteristics with convective clouds, but much drier and weaker, and they also maintain small amount of supercooled liquid water.
  • Fig. 1  Observation field of TIPEX-Ⅲ at Naqu during summer of 2014

    (the red rectangle indicates the region of aircraft measurements, × and + are two observation sites at Naqu Meteorological Bureau and Naqu Zhongxin Hotel)

    Fig. 2  Aircraft observations of newly born convective cells on 3 Jul 2014 (a)cloud liquid water content and total water content derived from Nevzorov, (b)cloud particle number concentration (the black solid line) and drop size distribution (the shaded) derived from FCDP

    (A1, A2, and A3 represent 3 penetrations of the same cells while B1 denotes a different cell)

    Fig. 3  Aircraft measurements of developing convective clouds on 10 Jul 2014 (a)altitude and air temperature of the flight measurement procedure, (b)LWC, (c)concentration of large particles derived from HVPS, (d)concentration of small particles derived from FCDP, (e)cloud drop size distributions of the sampled periods shown in Fig. 3d

    Fig. 4  Aircraft measurements of developing convective clouds on 13 Jul 2014 (a)altitude and temperature (the solid line) and reflectivity (the shaded) of C-band operational radar along the flight trajectory, (b)LWC and TWC retrieved from Nevzorov, (c)concentration of large particles derived from HVPS, (d)concentration of small particles derived from FCDP

    Fig. 5  Particle images of different altitudes on 13 Jul 2014

    Fig. 6  Particle size distributions of convective clouds obtained by FCDP at typical temperatures for cases on 3, 10, 13 Jul in 2014

    (all particle size distributions refer to convective clouds with only supercooled liquid water)

    Fig. 7  Height-time distributions of radar defectivities of residual clouds and altitude of flight trajactories

    (red lines represent altitude of flight)

    Fig. 8  Results of residual cloud case on 20 Jul 2014 (a)LWC and TWC obtained by Nevzorov, (b)concentrations and spectra obtained by 2D-S, (c)concentrations and spectra obtained by HPVS, (d)concentrations and spectra obtained by FCDP

    Table  1  Flight altitudes, temperatures, and cloud types of six cases during TIPEX-Ⅲ, 2014

    日期 飞行高度/m 温度/℃ 云类型
    07-03 5728~7634 -11.7~-1.0 初始对流云
    07-10 6286~6954 -6.6~-2.4 发展阶段对流云
    07-13 6293~7959 -13.1~-2.4 发展阶段对流云
    07-20 6279~8933 -17.1~-2.1 残留云系
    07-21 6278~8938 -17.3~-2.4 残留云系
    07-24 6280~8145 -14.8~-4.4 发展阶段对流云
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    Table  2  Maximum, average and order of magnitude values of cloud particle concentrations with D < 50 μm and D≥50 μm and LWC, TWC and V values during the TIPEX-Ⅲ

    统计项目 小云粒子数浓度/L-1 大云粒子数浓度/L-1 LWC/(g·m-3) TWC/(g·m-3) V/(m·s-1)
    最大值 1.1×105 28.82 0.25 1.33 4.3
    最小值 (9±10)×103 (7±19)×10-1
    数量级 104 100~101 10-1~100 10-1~100 1~4
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