Progress in Severe Convective Weather Forecasting in China since the 1950s


  • Located in the Asian monsoon region, China frequently experiences severe convective weather (SCW), such as short-duration heavy rainfall (SDHR), thunderstorm high winds, hails, and occasional tornadoes. Progress in SCW forecasting in China is closely related to the construction and development of meteorological observation networks, especially weather radar and meteorological satellite networks. In the late 1950s, some county-level meteorological bureaus began to conduct empirical hail forecasting based on observations of clouds and surface meteorological variables. It took over half a century to develop a modern comprehensive operational monitoring and warning system for SCW forecast nationwide since the setup of the first weather radar in 1959. The operational SCW forecasting, including real-time monitoring, warnings valid for tens of minutes, watches valid for several hours, and outlooks covering lead times of up to three days, was established in 2009. Operational monitoring and forecasting of thunderstorms, SDHR, thunderstorm high winds, and hails have been carried out. The performance of operational SCW forecasting will be continually improved in the future with the development of convection-resolving numerical models (CRNMs), the upgrade of weather radar networks, the launch of new-generation meteorological satellites, better understanding of meso-γ and microscale SCW systems, and further application of artificial intelligence technology and CRNM predictions.
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