Analysis of the structure of the temperature field in relation to the persistent snowy and cold weather in south China in early 2008

Mingjian Zeng, Weisong Lu, Xin-Zhong Liang, Haiying Wu, Meijuan Pu, Dongping Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In early 2008, a persistent cold and snowy weather process occurred in South China. Severe freezing rain (FR) and blizzards hit the region, which was not seen in the past 50 years. This work studied the disaster at its most severe stage (25 January-2 February 2008) and addressed the reason for the occurrence of three rainfall types and particularly the FR that resulted from the temperature inversion and low surface temperature. Evidence suggests that the south-to-north distribution of rainfall, FR, and snowfall was determined by the surface temperature conditions and the stratification features of the northward-tilting front in the mid-lower troposphere over different parts of South China. Under the above frontal conditions, the temperature inversion in the mid-lower troposphere and the cold ground temperature took place and the FR formed. The temperature layer ( 0 degrees C) inside the inversion in this region depended on necessary intensity, depth, and height of the inversion, i.e., the depth of the inversion can be neither too thick or low nor too thin or high. For those too thick and low (too thin and high) inversions, the precipitation fell as rain (snow and ice pellets). In the early 2008 case, the 0-6 degrees C layer occupied 650-850 hPa, below which was the sub-freezing level with temperature 0 degrees C. With the presence of the low sub-freezing level, FR or ice damage could occur even at the 0-1 degrees C surface temperature condition. Besides, even in the absence of a suitable inversion, a low ground temperature might have made ice-covered water and supercooled drops or water from melted ice freeze rapidly into ice at the surface, and the ground ice maintained and accumulated, which resulted in the severe disaster.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510--520
JournalActa Meteorologica Sinica
Volume24
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • ISWS

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