Long-Lived Mesoscale Systems in a Low-Convective Inhibition Environment. Part I: Upshear Propagation

Lane, Todd P.; Moncrieff, Mitchell W.
November 2015
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences;Nov2015, Vol. 72 Issue 11, p4297
Academic Journal
Dynamical models of organized mesoscale convective systems have identified the important features that help maintain their overarching structure and longevity. The standard model is the trailing stratiform archetype, featuring a front-to-rear ascending circulation, a mesoscale downdraft circulation, and a cold pool/density current that affects the propagation speed and the maintenance of the system. However, this model does not represent all types of mesoscale convective systems, especially in moist environments where the evaporation-driven cold pools are weak and the convective inhibition is small. Moreover, questions remain about the role of gravity waves in creating and maintaining organized systems and affecting their propagation speed. This study presents simulations and dynamical models of self-organizing convection in a moist, low-convective inhibition environment and examines the long-lived convective regimes that emerge spontaneously. This paper, which is Part I of this study, specifically examines the structure, kinematics, and maintenance of long-lived, upshear-propagating convective systems that differ in important respects from the standard model of long-lived convective systems. Linear theory demonstrates the role of ducted gravity waves in maintaining the long-lived, upshear-propagating systems. A steady nonlinear model approximates the dynamics of upshear-propagating density currents that are key to the maintenance of the mesoscale convective system.


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