Gregarious tropical convection

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300 Scopus citations


A heat source with a vertical profile like that of observed tropical mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) is shown to cause, through inviscid gravity wave dynamics, upward displacement at low levels in a mesoscale region surrounding the heating. Typical values are ~10%-30% area contraction at the surface everywhere within 270 km of the heating 6 h after it starts. As a result, conditions near an existing MCS (but beyond the area of MCS outflow) become more favorable for the development of additional convection. This theory predicts that cloud clusters should be gregarious. Infrared satellite imagery confirms that almost half of the cold cloudiness observed in a month over the oceanic warm pool region was contributed by just 14 objectively defined multiday "superclusters.' -Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2026-2037
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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