||A 1998-2013 climatology of Kyushu, Japan: seasonal variations of stability and rainfall
Poulidis, Alexandros P.Takemi, Tetsuya
International Journal of Climatology
1858 , 2017-03-30 , Wiley-Blackwell
The seasonal variation of the atmospheric structure, vertical shear, stability, and rainfall distribution over the island of Kyushu, southern Japan, is studied using 16 years of observational data, from 1998 to 2013. Over 20 000 twice-daily rawinsonde observations from the cities of Kagoshima (southern Kyushu) and Fukuoka (northern Kyushu) are utilized along with daily precipitation data from 120 Japan Meteorological Agency stations located across the island. Understanding the local atmospheric circulation and climatological behaviour of the island is important both locally due to the island's large population and regionally, due to its position in relation to the tracks of typhoons generated annually over the Pacific ocean and make landfall here, the rainy season associated with the Asian monsoon, and the large number of active volcanoes located on or near the island, emitting volcanic gases and ash on a daily basis. Using a categorisation based on convective available potential energy and precipitable water, three sounding categories are distinguished, described using the origins of the air masses involved, as seen from trajectory modelling: continental (dry), oceanic (moist/unstable), and mixed (moist/stable). Mean soundings for each category are examined, along with information on their annual and seasonal variability. Each sounding category is linked with a rainfall response: low amounts of rainfall, heavy convective rainfall, and heavy, non-convective rainfall, respectively. Despite the large difference in the potential for heavy rainfall rates, average daily rainfall rate is similar for the two moist categories, but peak rainfall rates for convective rainfall are twice as large as those for non-convective. Despite the simplicity of the criteria, the three sounding categories are statistically robust and exhibit a relatively small amount of variability. The monthly combination of the sounding categories is shown to be a deciding factor in the seasonal variation of the atmospheric circulation, weather, and precipitation over the island.