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The Evolution of Extremely Heavy Precipitation in Shanghai, China

Paper Reviewed
Liang, P. and Ding, Y. 2017. The Long-term Variation of Extreme Heavy Precipitation and Its Link to Urbanization Effects in Shanghai during 1916-2014. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 34: 321-334.

Introducing their study, Liang and Ding (2017) describe how they utilized the hourly precipitation records of Shanghai meteorological stations for the period 1916-2014 in order to determine the effects of urbanization on hourly rainstorms, which effort revealed that (1) "over the last century, extreme hourly precipitation events enhanced significantly," and while also noting that (2) "during the recent urbanization period from 1981 to 2014, the frequency of heavy precipitation increased significantly, with a distinct localized and abrupt characteristic."

Liang and Ding further report that (3) "the spatial distribution of long-term trends for the occurrence frequency and total precipitation intensity of hourly heavy precipitation in Shanghai shows a distinct urban rain-island feature," where (4) "heavy precipitation was increasingly focused in urban and suburban areas." Elaborating further, the two researchers write that (5) "attribution analysis shows that urbanization in Shanghai contributed greatly to the increase in both frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events in the city, thus leading to an increasing total precipitation amount of heavy rainfall events."

Also of note was Liang's and Ding's finding that (6) "the diurnal variation of rainfall intensity also shows distinctive urban-rural differences, especially during late afternoon and early nighttime in the city area." And thus we see that (7) mankind can indeed enhance the frequency of heavy precipitation, but that this phenomenon is typically only observed over cities of significant size.

Posted 5 June 2017