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The pre-summer heavy rainfall over southern China during 3–8 June 2008 is simulated using a two-dimensional cloud-resolving model. The model is integrated with imposed zonally uniform vertical velocity, zonal wind, horizontal temperature and vapour advection from National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) data. The effects of vertical wind shear and cloud radiative processes on the response of rainfall to largescale forcing are analysed through the comparison of two sensitivity experiments with the control experiment. One sensitivity experiment excludes the large-scale vertical wind shear and the other excludes the cloud radiative effects. During the decay phase of convection, the increase in model domain-mean surface rain-rate resulting from the exclusion of vertical wind shear is associated with the slowdown in the decrease of perturbation kinetic energy due to the exclusion of barotropic conversion from mean kinetic energy to perturbation kinetic energy. The increase in domain-mean rain-rate from the exclusion of cloud radiative effects is related to the enhancement of condensation and associated latent heat as a result of strengthened radiative cooling. The increase in the domain-mean surface rain-rate is mainly associated with the increase of convective rainfall, which is in turn related to the local atmospheric change from moistening to drying. During the onset and mature phases of convection, the domain-mean surface rain-rates are generally insensitive to vertical wind shear and cloud radiative effects whereas convective and stratiform rain-rates are sensitive to vertical wind shear and cloud radiative effects. The decrease in convective rain-rate and the increase in stratiform rain-rate are primarily associated with the enhanced transport of hydrometeor concentration from convective regions to raining stratiform regions.