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Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 727–736 | Cite as

Statistical characteristics of raindrop size distribution in the Tibetan Plateau and southern China

  • Yahao Wu
  • Liping LiuEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The characteristics of raindrop size distribution (DSD) over the Tibetan Plateau and southern China are studied in this paper, using the DSD data from April to August 2014 collected by HSC-PS32 disdrometers in Nagqu and Yangjiang, comprising a total of 9430 and 6366 1-min raindrop spectra, respectively. The raindrop spectra, characteristics of parameter variations with rainfall rate, and the relationships between reflectivity factor (Z) and rainfall rate (R) are analyzed, as well as their DSD changes with precipitation type and rainfall rate. The results show that the average raindrop spectra appear to be one-peak curves, the number concentration for larger drops increase significantly with rainfall rate, and its value over southern China is much higher, especially in convective rain. Standardized Gamma distributions better describe DSD for larger drops, especially for convective rain in southern China. All three Gamma parameters for stratiform precipitation over the Tibetan Plateau are much higher, while its shape parameter (μ) and mass-weighted mean diameter (D m), for convective precipitation, are less. In terms of parameter variation with rainfall rate, the normalized intercept parameter (N w) over the Tibetan Plateau for stratiform rain increases with rainfall rate, which is opposite to the situation in convective rain. The μ over the Tibetan Plateau for stratiform and convective precipitation types decreases with an increase in rainfall rate, which is opposite to the case for D m variation. In Z–R relationships, like “Z = AR b ”, the coefficient A over the Tibetan Plateau is smaller, while its b is higher, when the rain type transfers from stratiform to convective ones. Furthermore, with an increase in rainfall rate, parameters A and b over southern China increase gradually, while A over the Tibetan Plateau decreases substantially, which differs from the findings of previous studies. In terms of geographic location and climate over the Tibetan Plateau and southern China, the precipitation in the pre-flood seasons is dominated by strong convective rain, while weak convective rain occurs frequently in northern Tibet with lower humidity and higher altitude.

Key words

Tibetan Plateau raindrop size distribution precipitation classification standardized gamma distribution 

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Notes

Acknowledgments

The first author thanks Mr. Liping LIU at the State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, for his guidance. The authors thank Dr. Ming CHEN at the Earth Science Service for Consulting and polishing the manuscript. We also thank the State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather for the assistance in collecting the disdrometer data. The study was supported jointly by the China Meteorological Administration Special Public Welfare Research Fund (Grant No. GYHY201406001), the National (Key) Basic Research and Development (973) Program of China (Grant No. 2012CB417202), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41175038).

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Copyright information

© Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Severe WeatherChinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.China Hunan Meteorological BureauChangshaChina

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