Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan. Ser. II
Online ISSN : 2186-9057
Print ISSN : 0026-1165
ISSN-L : 0026-1165
Invited Review Articles
Quasi-stationary Band-Shaped Precipitation Systems, Named “Senjo-Kousuitai”, Causing Localized Heavy Rainfall in Japan
Teruyuki KATO
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2020 Volume 98 Issue 3 Pages 485-509


In Japan, localized heavy rainfall events producing accumulated three-hour precipitation amounts larger than 200 mm are often observed to cause severe landslides and floods. Such events are mainly brought by quasistationary band-shaped precipitation systems, named “senjo-kousuitai” in Japanese. Senjo-kousuitai is defined as a band-shaped heavy rainfall area with a length of 50–300 km and a width of 20 - 50 km, produced by successively formed and developed convective cells, lining up to organize multi-cell clusters, and passing or stagnating at almost the same place for a few hours. The formation processes of senjo-kousuitai are categorized mainly into two types; the broken line type in which convective cells simultaneously form on a quasi-stationary local front by the inflow of warm and humid air, and the back building type in which new convective cells successively forming on the upstream side of low-level winds linearly organize with pre-existing cells.

In this study, previous studies of band-shaped precipitation systems are reviewed, and the numerical reproducibility of senjo-kousuitai events and the favorable conditions for their occurrence are examined. In a case of Hiroshima heavy rainfall observed in western Japan on 20 August 2014, the reproduction of the senjo-kousuitai requires a horizontal resolution of at least 2 km, which is sufficient to roughly resolve the formation and development processes of convective cells, while a resolution of 250–500 m is necessary to accurately reproduce their inner core structures. The 2-km model quantitatively reproduced the Hiroshima case when initial conditions 10 hours before the event were used, but the predicted amounts of maximum accumulated precipitation were considerably reduced as the initial time became closer to the occurrence time of the senjo-kousuitai. This reduction was brought from the excessive inflow of low-level dry air that shifted occurrence areas of new multi-cell clusters.

Six favorable occurrence conditions of senjo-kousuitai events for their diagnostic forecasts were statistically constructed from environmental atmospheric fields in previous localized heavy rainfall events. Two conditions of (1) large water vapor flux amounts (> 150 g m−2 s−1) and (2) short distances to the level of free convection (< 1000 m) were chosen representatively for the low-level water vapor field that is judged based on 500-m height data. Four other favorable conditions are selected; (3) high relative humidity at midlevels (> 60 % at 500 hPa and 700 hPa), (4) large vertical shear estimated from the storm relative environmental helicity (> 100 m2 s−2), (5) synoptic-scale ascending areas (400 km mean field at 700 hPa), and (6) the exclusion of warm air advection frequently appearing at 700–850 hPa and inhibiting the development of convection (i.e., an equilibrium level > 3000 m).

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© The Author(s) 2020. This is an open access article published by the Meteorological Society of Japan under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
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