A diagnostic study of a retreating mei-yu front and the accompanying low-level jet formation and intensification

George Tai Jen Chen*, Chung Chieh Wang, Li Fen Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


During 7-8 June 1998, an organized mesoscale convective system (MCS) formed within the mei-yu frontal cloud band and moved northeastward to produce heavy rain over the island of Taiwan. During this period, the section of the mei-yu front east of Taiwan moved northward, most significantly for about 300 km over 12 h. Meanwhile, a low-level jet (LLJ) developed within the environmental southwesterly flow to the south of the mei-yu front and the MCS. Observations revealed that the front retreated as low-level meridional wind components over the post-frontal region shifted from northerly to southerly. Using European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) analyses with piecewise potential vorticity (PV) inversion technique and other methods, a diagnostic study was carried out to investigate the northward frontal movement and the formation of the LLJ. Results indicated that diabatic latent heating from the MCS, large enough in scale, generated positive PV and height fall at low levels. The enhanced height gradient induced northwestward-directed ageostrophic winds and the LLJ formed southeast of the MCS through Coriolis torque. The southwesterly flow associated with this diabatic PV perturbation led to rapid retreat of the frontal segment east of Taiwan at a speed of about 25 m s-1, while the movement was dominated by horizontal advection in the present case. During this process of readjustment toward geostrophy, a thermally indirect circulation also appeared over and south of the front, and the LLJ formed within its lower branch at 850 hPa. The enhanced southwesterly winds reached LLJ strength because they were superimposed upon a background monsoon flow at the same direction. To the lee of Taiwan, the topography also played the role in enhancing local wind speed at lower levels and contributed toward the frontal retreat at nearby regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-896
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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