Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 92, Issue 1–2, pp 15–29 | Cite as

A composite analysis of diurnal cycle of GPS precipitable water vapor in central Japan during Calm Summer Days

  • G. Li
  • F. Kimura
  • T. Sato
  • D. Huang


The diurnal variations of water vapor in central Japan were investigated with GPS-derived precipitable water (PWV) and surface meteorological data as classified to three kinds of locations. Twenty-five clear days in central Japan in August 2000 were investigated to clarify the role of water vapor in the nocturnal maximum in the diurnal cycle of convective rainfall. The diurnal variations of PWV and some meteorological factors were composite during the selected days at 6 stations. The PWV shows a clear diurnal cycle with the amplitude of 3.4 mm to 8.8 mm and changes little during the period from the morning to noon. The daily amplitude of PWV is the largest in basin and smallest in plain although mean of PWV keeps high value in plain. A typical feature of the diurnal variation in central Japan is a maximum appearing in the evening. The time of maximum is from 1800 LST to 2000 LST, and minima appears at noon nearly in mountainous area and basin, while in early morning in plain. The diurnal maximum of PWV appears earlier in mountainous region than in plain.

A diurnal cycle of specific humidity can be observed in all locations, and the amplitude in mountainous region is especially large compared with that in basin and plain. It is important to notice that there are remarkable differences in specific humidity among the six stations. The results suggest that the diurnal variation of PWV seems to be strongly affected by the local thermal circulations generated by the topography around these stations. The moisture transport causes the differences in phase of the diurnal cycle of PWV between different locations as well as the phase difference in precipitation. A very clear diurnal variation in surface air temperature is similar to that of solar radiation, with a minimum in the morning and a maximum in early afternoon. Maximum of surface wind speed are corresponded to peak of precipitation very well. It can be concluded that the amplitude of solar radiation increases with altitude as opposed to the situation of PWV generally.

The precipitation observed frequently in the evening also shows a similar diurnal variation to that of the PWV, indicating the peak of precipitation appearing in late afternoon or in the evening over central Japan. Meanwhile the PWV reaches its nocturnal maximum. There is a good relationship between the diurnal cycle of observed precipitation and that of the PWV.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Kimura
    • 3
  • T. Sato
    • 3
  • D. Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surveying EngineeringSouthwest Jiaotong UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric SciencesChengdu University of Information TechnologyChengduChina
  3. 3.Institute of GeoscienceUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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