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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 980747, 12 pages
Research Article

A Numerical Study of the Beijing Extreme Rainfall of 21 July 2012 and the Impact of Topography

State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China

Received 22 January 2015; Revised 4 May 2015; Accepted 4 May 2015

Academic Editor: S. Vicente-Serrano

Copyright © 2015 Hongxiong Xu and Wenqing Yao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The extreme rainfall on 21 July 2012 is the heaviest rainfall that has occurred in Beijing since 1961. Observations and WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) model are used to study the effect of MCS (mesoscale convective system) and topography on the rainfall. In this high-impact event, a quasi-stationary MCS developed in a favorable moist environment. The numerical simulation successfully reproduced the amount, location, and time evolution of the rainfall despite 4–6 h delay. In particular, the model reproduced the repeat passage of convective cells at the leading convergence line region along Taihang Mountains and the trailing stratiform region, producing the rainfall at nearly the right position. Results indicate the important roles of mesolow and low-level jet in maintaining the conditional instability that lifted the moist air to trigger deep convection and the repeated initiation and movement of the line shaped convective cells that produced the rainfall. The sensitive experiment was then further carried out to examine the effect of topography on this heavy rainfall. The reduction in model elevation field significantly influenced the above mesoscale systems, which lead to convective cells becoming less organized, and the peak rainfall amount in Beijing decreased by roughly 50%.