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Climate 2015, 3(1), 193-209;

Urban-Induced Mechanisms for an Extreme Rainfall Event in Beijing China: A Satellite Perspective

Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San José State University, San José, CA 95112, USA
Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
Beijing Weather Bureau, Beijing 100843, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Monica Ionita-Scholz
Received: 3 September 2014 / Revised: 30 January 2015 / Accepted: 3 February 2015 / Published: 4 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changes in Precipitation and Impacts on Regional Water Resources)
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Using 1 km satellite remote sensing observations, this paper examines the clouds, aerosols, water vapor and surface skin temperature over Beijing to understand the possible urban system contributions to the extreme rainfall event on 21 July 2012 (i.e., 721 event). Remote sensing measurements, with the advantage of high spatial resolution and coverage, reveal three key urban-related mechanisms: (a) the urban heat island effect (UHI) resulted in strong surface convection and high level cloud cover over Beijing; (b) urban aerosol amount peaked before the rainfall, which “seeded” the clouds and invigorated precipitation; and (c) urban tall buildings provided additional lift for the air mass and provided heat at the underlying boundary to keep the rainfall system alive for a long duration precipitation (>10 hours). With the existing rainfall system moving from the northwest and abundant water vapor was transported from the southeast into Beijing, the urban canyon-lifting, aerosol, and UHI effects all enhanced this extreme rainfall event. This work proves that urban system is responsible, at least partly, for urban rainfall extremes and thus should be considered for urban extreme rainfall prediction in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban rainfall; extreme event; aerosol-cloud-rainfall interaction urban rainfall; extreme event; aerosol-cloud-rainfall interaction

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Jin, M.S.; Li, Y.; Su, D. Urban-Induced Mechanisms for an Extreme Rainfall Event in Beijing China: A Satellite Perspective. Climate 2015, 3, 193-209.

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