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Finite departure from convective quasi-equilibrium: periodic cycle and discharge-recharge mechanism

Yano, J.-I. and Plant, R. ORCID: (2011) Finite departure from convective quasi-equilibrium: periodic cycle and discharge-recharge mechanism. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 138 (664). pp. 626-637. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.957


A simple self–contained theory is proposed for describing life cycles of convective systems as a discharge–recharge process. A closed description is derived for the dynamics of an ensemble of convective plumes based on an energy cycle. The system consists of prognostic equations for the cloud work function and the convective kinetic energy. The system can be closed by intro ducing a functional relationship between the convective kinetic energy and the cloud–base mass flux. The behaviour of this system is considered under a bulk simplification. Previous cloud–resolving mo delling as well as bulk statistical theories for ensemble convective systems suggest that a plausible relationship would be to assume that the convective kinetic energy is linearly proportional to the cloud–base mass flux. As a result, the system reduces to a nonlinear dynamical system with two dependent variables, the cloud–base mass flux and the cloud work function. The fully nonlinear solution of this system always represents a periodic cycle regardless of the initial condition under constant large–scale forcing. Importantly, the inclusion of energy dissipation in this model does not in itself lead the system to an equilibrium.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:23612
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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