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The role of local orography on the development of a severe rainfall event over western Peninsular Malaysia: a case study

Mohd Nor, M. F. F., Holloway, C. E. ORCID: and Inness, P. M. (2020) The role of local orography on the development of a severe rainfall event over western Peninsular Malaysia: a case study. Monthly Weather Review, 148 (5). pp. 2191-2209. ISSN 1520-0493

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-18-0413.1


Severe rainfall events are common in western Peninsular Malaysia. They are usually short and intense, and occasionally cause flash floods and landslides. Forecasting these local events is difficult and understanding the mechanisms of the rainfall events is vital for the advancement of tropical weather forecasting. This study investigates the mechanisms responsible for a local heavy rainfall event on 2 May 2012 that caused flash floods and landslides using both observations and simulations with the limited-area high-resolution UK Met Office Unified Model (MetUM). Results suggest that previous day rainfalls over Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra Island influenced the development of overnight rainfall over the Strait of Malacca by low-level flow convergence. Afternoon convection over the Titiwangsa mountains over Peninsular Malaysia then induced rainfall development and the combination of these two events influenced the development of severe convective storm over western Peninsular Malaysia. Additionally, anomalously strong low-level north-westerlies also contributed to this event. Sensitivity studies were carried out to investigate the influence of the local orography on this event. Flattened Peninsular Malaysia orography causes a lack of rainfall over the central part of Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra Island and produces a weaker overnight rainfall over the Strait of Malacca. By removing Sumatra Island in the final experiment, the western and inland parts of Peninsular Malaysia would receive more rainfall, as this region is more influenced by the westerly wind from the Indian Ocean. These results suggest the importance of the interation between land masses, orography, low-level flow and the diurnal cycle on the development of heavy rainfall events.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:89721
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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