Local heavy rainfall of about 100 mm h-1 occurred in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture on 26 August 2011. This rain was brought by a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that developed near a stationary front that slowly moved southward. In an analysis using geostationary multi-purpose satellite rapid scan images and dense automated weather station networks, development of the MCS occurred after the merging of sea breezes from the east (Kashima-nada) and the south (Tokyo Bay).
Numerical experiments by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) nonhydrostatic model (NHM) with horizontal resolutions of 10 km and 2 km using mesoscale 4D-VAR analysis of JMA for initial conditions tended to predict the position of intense rainfall areas west of observed positions. In the mesoscale ensemble forecast using perturbations from JMA’s one-week global ensemble prediction system (EPS) forecast, some ensemble members showed enhanced precipitation around Tokyo, but false precipitation areas appeared north of the Kanto and Hokuriku Districts.
As an attempt to improve the model forecast, we modified the model, reducing the lower limit of subgrid deviation of water vapor condensation to diagnose the cloudiness for radiation. In the modified model simulation, surface temperatures around Tokyo increased by about 1°C and the position of the intense precipitation was improved, but the false precipitation areas in the Hokuriku District were also enhanced in the ensemble member which brought a better forecast than the control run.
We also conducted ensemble prediction using a singular vector method based on NHM. One of the ensemble members unstabilized the lower atmosphere on the windward side of the Kanto District and suppressed the false precipitation in the Hokuriku District, and observed characteristics of the local heavy rainfall were well reproduced by NHM with a horizontal resolution of 2 km.
A conceptual model of the initiation of deep convection by the formation of a low-level convergence zone succeeding merging of the two sea breezes from the east and south is proposed based on observations, previous studies, and numerical simulation results. In this event, the northerly ambient wind played an important role on the occurrence of the local heavy rainfall around Tokyo by suppressing the northward intrusion of the sea breeze from the south.