Journal of Meteorological Research

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 985–1001 | Cite as

Classification and Diurnal Variations of Precipitation Echoes Observed by a C-band Vertically-Pointing Radar in Central Tibetan Plateau during TIPEX-III 2014-IOP

  • Ruoyun Ma
  • Yali LuoEmail author
  • Hui Wang
Regular Article


This study investigates classification and diurnal variations of the precipitation echoes over the central Tibetan Plateau based on the observations collected from a C-band vertically-pointing frequency-modulated continuous-wave (C-FMCW) radar during the Third Tibetan Plateau Atmospheric Scientific Experiment (TIPEX-III) 2014-Intensive Observation Period (2014-IOP). The results show that 51.32% of the vertical profiles have valid echoes with reflectivity >–10 dBZ, and 35.06% of the valid echo profiles produce precipitation at the ground (precipitation profiles); stratiform precipitation with an evident bright-band signature, weak convective precipitation, and strong convective precipitation account for 52.03%, 42.98%, and 4.99% of the precipitation profiles, respectively. About 59.84% of the precipitation occurs in the afternoon to midnight, while 40.16% of the precipitation with weaker intensity is observed in the nocturnal hours and in the morning. Diurnal variation of occurrence frequency of precipitation shows a major peak during 2100–2200 LST (local solar time) with 59.02% being the stratiform precipitation; the secondary peak appears during 1300–1400 LST with 59.71% being the weak convective precipitation; the strong convective precipitation occurs mostly (81.83%) in the afternoon and evening with two peaks over 1200–1300 and 1700–1800 LST, respectively. Starting from approximately 1100 LST, precipitation echoes develop with enhanced vertical air motion, elevated echo top, and increasing radar reflectivity. Intense upward air motion occurs most frequently in 1700–1800 LST with a secondary peak in 1100–1400 LST, while the tops of precipitation echoes and intense upward air motion reach their highest levels during 1600–1800 LST. The atmospheric conditions in the early morning are disadvantageous for convective initiation and development. Around noon, the convective available potential energy (CAPE) increases markedly, convective inhibition (CIN) is generally small, and a super-dry-adiabatic layer is present near the surface (0–400 m). In the early evening, some larger values of CAPE, level of neutral buoyancy, and total precipitable water are present, suggesting more favorable thermodynamic and water vapor conditions.

Key words

TIPEX-III vertically-pointing radar precipitation echoes diurnal variation 


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Meteorological Society and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Severe WeatherChinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological DisastersNanjing University of Information Science &TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory for Cloud Physics and Weather Modification of China Meteorological AdministrationChinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina

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