Public Release: 

Microphysical differences in precipitation between Tibet and southern China

Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences


IMAGE: The cover art design is reproduced from a photo taken by Prof. Zhiqun HU during his observations of cloud and precipitation in Tibet, at Nagqu station, in 2014. Raindrop Size... view more 

Credit: Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

Studies of raindrop size distribution (DSD) over different regions help to advance our understanding of DSD characteristics and provide observational facts regarding the development and evaluation of microphysical parameterization schemes in numerical models over different regions in the future.

Liping LIU, from the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, and his colleagues, analyzed DSD data over the Tibetan Plateau (Nagqu) and southern China (Yangjiang) from April to August 2014, collected by HSC-PS32 disdrometers; in particular, the raindrop spectra and characteristics of parameter variations with rainfall rate for stratiform and convective precipitation, and the relationships between reflectivity factor and rainfall rate (Z-R relationships). The results are published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, and the paper is featured on the cover of Volume 34, Issue 6.

The results indicate that the raindrop number concentration for convective precipitation over Tibet is much lower than that in southern China; and for larger raindrops, the condition is similar for stratiform precipitation. The rainfall rate over Tibet, with the same radar reflectivity, is much heavier than that over southern China. In terms of the radar QPE (quantitative precipitation estimation) equation, Z = aRb, the coefficient a over the Tibetan Plateau is smaller than that over southern China, while the value of b is higher, especially for convective precipitation.


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