398 Clausius-Clapeyron Scaling of Peak CAPE in Continental Midlatitude Severe Weather Environments

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Vince Agard, MIT, Cambridge, MA; and K. A. Emanuel
Manuscript (246.6 kB)

Handout (565.1 kB)

A thermodynamic constraint on the severity of convective storms in continental midlatitudes as a function of climate is established using an idealized, one-dimensional model.  This theoretical model simplifies the synoptic-scale preconditioning framework for continental severe convection by considering a dry adiabatic column that comes into contact with a moist land surface.  A system of equations is derived to describe the evolution of the ensuing surface boundary layer.  From these, the maximum value of transient convective available potential energy (CAPE) in the column can be found for any particular combination of surface temperature and moisture.  It is demonstrated that, for a given range of surface temperatures, the value of peak CAPE scales approximately with the Clausius-Clapeyron relation.
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