Urbansignatures inthespatial clusteringof summer heavy rainfall events over the Beijing metropolitan region

Long Yang, Fuqiang Tian, James A. Smith, Heping Hu

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84 Scopus citations


The climatology of summer heavy rainfall events over the Beijing metropolitan region during 2008–2012 is investigated with the aid of an observational network of rain gauges and the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Two “hot spots” of higher frequency of summer heavy rainfall events are observed. One is located over the urban core region and the other resides in the climatological downwind region. Two comparative sets of model runs are designed to assess the effect of land surface properties with and without the presence of the city on the model simulation results. By comparing the two sets of model runs, the changes of rainfall statistics, behaviors of storm cells, and variables related to convection due to urbanization are analyzed and quantified. The intensity of heavy rainfall is increased over the urban and downwind region, corresponding to the locations of the two observed hot spots based on rain gauges. The changes of rainfall statistics suggest that the probability distribution of rainfall is shifted toward a heavier upper tail distribution. The Lagrangian properties of storm cells are examined using a newly developed Storm-Cell Identification procedure. High-echo storm cells tend to split approaching the city and merge in the downwind region. The level of free convection and the height of the planetary boundary layer are significantly increased over the urban region and maximum convective available potential energy is decreased. Increased sensible heat flux from the urban surfaces plays a dominant role in the modification of simulated rainfall from a climatological perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1203-1217
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 16 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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