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Convection in Conditionally Unstable Atmosphere

Tellus A
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The analysis has shown that if the stratification is unstable for ascending motion over an infinite area and stable for descending motion, and small random perturbations of various scales are introduced, the final disturbance evolved will have the dimension of a cumulus cloud. The stable stratification in the descending region has the effect of increasing the critical lapse-rate and narrowing the ascending region and making the descending motion widespread, so that the centers of the ascending regions are further apart. The distance estimated from the theoretical analysis agrees favorably with those obtained from satellite observations. The distributions of the various perturbation quantities pertaining to a circular symmetrical disturbance have been obtained. They show many resemblances to the corresponding distributions in tropical storms. Since the main source of energy of the mature tropical storms is the latent heat of condensation, it is really tempting to attribute the formation of these large-scale disturbances directly to convection in conditionally unstable air. However, the analysis shows that some organizing mechanisms are needed in order to channel the release of the energy of unstable stratification into a large scale circulation.DOI: 10.1111/j.2153-3490.1961.tb00107.x

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