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Convective quasi–equilibrium

Yano, J.-I. and Plant, R. S. ORCID: (2012) Convective quasi–equilibrium. Reviews of Geophysics, 50 (4). 004. ISSN 8755-1209

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2011RG000378


The concept of convective quasi–equilibrium (CQE) is a key ingredient in order to understand the role of deep moist convection in the atmosphere. It has been used as a guiding principle to develop almost all convective parameterizations and provides a basic theoretical framework for large–scale tropical dynamics. The CQE concept as originally proposed by Arakawa and Schubert [1974] is systematically reviewed from wider perspectives. Various interpretations and extensions of Arakawa and Schubert’s CQE are considered in terms of both a thermodynamic analogy and as a dynamical balance. The thermodynamic interpretations can be more emphatically embraced as a homeostasis. The dynamic balance interpretations can be best understood by analogy with the slow manifold. Various criticisms of CQE can be avoided by taking the dynamic balance interpretation. Possible limits of CQE are also discussed, including the importance of triggering in many convective situations, as well as the possible self–organized criticality of tropical convection. However, the most intriguing aspect of the CQE concept is that, in spite of many observational tests supporting and interpreting it in many different senses, it has 1never been established in a robust manner based on a systematic analysis of the cloud–work function budget by observations as was originally defined.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:29133
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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