Factors governing cellular convection in orographic precipitation
Kirshbaum, D. J. and Durran, D. R. (2004) Factors governing cellular convection in orographic precipitation. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 61 (6). pp. 682-698. ISSN 1520-0469
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/1520-0469(2004)061<0682:FGCCIO>2.0.CO;2
The development of shallow cellular convection in warm orographic clouds is investigated through idealized numerical simulations of moist flow over topography using a cloud-resolving numerical model. Buoyant instability, a necessary element for moist convection, is found to be diagnosed most accurately through analysis of the moist Brunt–Väisälä frequency (N_m) rather than the vertical profile of θ_e. In statically unstable orographic clouds (N_m^2) < 0), additional environmental and terrain-related factors are shown to have major effects on the amount of cellularity that occurs in 2D simulations. One of these factors, the basic-state wind shear, may suppress convection in 2D yet allow for longitudinal convective roll circulations in 3D. The presence of convective structures within an orographic cloud substantially enhanced the maximum rainfall rates, precipitation efficiencies, and precipitation accumulations in all simulations.