2015 Volume 93 Issue 5 Pages 551-570
The Tokai region in central Japan often receives heavy rainfall because of typhoons. Furthermore, because of global warming, the intensity of heavy rainfall events is expected to increase in the future. Therefore, assessment of possible differences in such events between the present and future is important. In this study, a record heavy rainfall event in the Tokai region on 11 September 2000, the so-called Tokai Heavy Rain (THR), was numerically simulated by weather research and forecasting model with triple nesting grid system of 50-, 10-, and 2-km horizontal resolution. Simulated results present characteristics of rainfall and atmospheric conditions similar to the actual event. Thus, the simulation is considered valid for reproducing rainfall processes of the THR. In addition, variations of heavy rainfall events in future climate scenarios are investigated using numerical simulations based on pseudo global warming (PGW) conditions, constructed using third-phase results of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project multi-model global warming experiments. Under certain future climate scenarios, the Tokai region may experience heavy rainfall events in which maximum hourly rainfall and extent of heavy rainfall areas increases. Such variations are mainly attributed to increased specific humidity in the lower troposphere. In some PGW runs, there was no significant rainfall around the Tokai region. There was increased specific humidity in these runs, and the horizontal distribution of lower atmospheric air temperature was favorable for the formation of a mesoscale convergence zone, as seen in PGW runs with heavy rainfall. However, vertical profiles of equivalent potential temperature and saturated equivalent potential temperature showed unsaturated and stable atmospheric stratifications that are unfavorable for convective activity. Even in cases with increased atmospheric temperature and specific humidity caused by global warming, differences in their spatial distributions and vertical profiles could lead to contrasting effects of global warming on a specific extreme weather event.