The Impact of Large-Scale Environments and a Southwest Vortex on Heavy Rainfall in Southern Taiwan in Late May 2020

Fang Ching Chien, Yen Chao Chiu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates the impact of the environmental conditions during the first half of the 2020 mei-yu season (Y20) and the southwest vortex (SWV), as well as their interaction, on heavy precipitation in southern Taiwan during late May 2020, based on a quantitative approach through ensemble simulations. The control experiment successfully replicates observed heavy precipitation in southern and central Taiwan and reveals a positive spatial correlation between precipitation occurrence probabilities and mean accumulated precipitation, emphasizing continuous rainfall accumulation over intermittent extreme events. Comparative analyses with sensitivity experiments elucidate that the Y20, featuring an extended western North Pacific subtropical high, intensify pressure gradients and southwesterly flow near Taiwan, favoring precipitation in windward regions but hindering it in the east. The SWV creates a moist and vortical environment near Taiwan, amplifying moisture supply and westerly winds, promoting precipitation in southern Taiwan, and enhancing frontal activity. The interaction between the SWV and the Y20, though limited in its impact on providing favorable wind and moisture conditions for precipitation southwest of Taiwan, significantly contributes to precipitation in southern Taiwan. The reason is that although the SWV primarily enhances moisture and the Y20 predominantly boost southwesterly flow, creating favorable conditions for rainfall, substantial precipitation occurs only when both factors converge in a nonlinear interaction. The interaction increases frontal activity over the Taiwan Strait and influences the movement and strength of the SWV, enhancing southwesterly flow and moisture flux in southwestern Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-767
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar


  • Ensembles
  • Mei-yu fronts
  • Mesoscale systems
  • Monsoons
  • Numerical weather prediction/forecasting
  • Precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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