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Comparing Global Warming and Anthropogenic Heat Impacts on Extreme Precipitation in urbanized Pearl River Delta area based on Dynamical Downscaling
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  • Kwun Yip Fung,
  • Chi-Yung Francis Tam,
  • Tsz-cheung Lee,
  • Ziqian Wang
Kwun Yip Fung
University of Texas at Austin
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Chi-Yung Francis Tam
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Tsz-cheung Lee
Hong Kong Observatory, Hong Kong
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Ziqian Wang
Sun Yat-sen University
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This study compares the impacts of global warming and intense anthropogenic heat (AH) on extreme hourly precipitation over the Pearl River Delta (PRD) megacity, located in coastal South China. Using the cloud-resolving Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model coupled with the single-layer urban canopy model (SLUCM), three downscaling experiments were carried out: the first (second) having zero (300W/m2 as diurnal maximum) AH values prescribed over PRD urban grids, under the same current climate conditions. The third experiment with AH=300W/m2 under future projected climate representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5. Boundary conditions were derived from PRD extreme rainfall episodes, identified from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Earth System Model (GFDL-ESM2M) historical and RCP8.5 runs. Global warming forcing leads to ~20 to more than 100% increase in the probability of hourly precipitation with the magnitude of 20-100mm/hr over urban locations. The enhancements from intense AH forcing were similar. However, two types of forcings have distinct signatures in modulating the thermodynamic environment. Warming due to AH is limited to the lowest 1km above ground, while global warming warms up the whole troposphere. Intense AH results in enhanced convective available potential energy (CAPE) and reduced convective inhibition (CIN) within the megacity, allowing convection to be triggered more easily and with more vigor. On the other hand, global warming enhances both CAPE and CIN, over both urban and rural areas. Our results highlight the different physical mechanisms of AH and global warming in exacerbating extreme urban rainfall, despite their having similar impacts on the rainfall intensity.
16 Nov 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres volume 126 issue 21. 10.1029/2021JD035047